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Compulsory insurance plan for Phuket jet-ski rentals

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Compulsory insurance plan for Phuket jet-ski rentals | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: In the latest bid to rein in the island’s controversial jet-ski rental industry, the province is considering imposing a mandatory insurance scheme.

A major aim of the policy is to cut down on the number of complaints about operators charging inflated fees for alleged damages to their machines.

A meeting was held at Phuket Provincial Hall on Monday to discuss the problem.

Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima chaired the meeting, which was attended by representatives from jet-ski rental operators and officials from the Marine Department, Kathu Police and the provincial insurance office.

All agreed to meet again at the end of June, after a feasibility study has been carried out.

V/Gov Worapoj said that the province and other agencies continuously receive complaints form tourists about unfair treatment at the hands of jet-ski operators.

The provincial governor would like to see an end to the complaints by finding a solution acceptable to both the tourists and the jet-ski operators. This would also improve the overall image of tourism in the province, he said.

Kathu Police Superintendent Grissak Songmoonnark said that in 2008, Kathu Police dealt with 49 cases involving jet-skis. A total of three million baht in compensation for damage to the machines was paid out, with some individual claims in excess of 100,000 baht.

Col Grissak suggested that establishment of a central repair shop to determine the true cost of damage caused to jet-skis would be one way to tackle the problem.

Suwimon Saelim of the Provincial Insurance Office said that she would contact insurance companies to find out if the idea for mandatory insurance was feasible and, if so, how much it would cost.

Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukban said that he agreed with the proposal.

Patong Municipality receives a steady stream of complaints from tourists about the behavior of jet-ski operators, he added.

Controlling jet-ski operators in Phuket has been a contentious issue for at least a decade. Following two tourist fatalities from jet-ski accidents at the end of 2003, then-governor Udomsak Usawarangkura announced a plan to gradually phase out the industry by 2011, giving operators enough time to find alternative ways to make their livelihoods.

New jet-ski registrations were banned with the intention of gradually reducing the existing fleet of 219 jet-skis to zero as they became inoperable due to wear and tear.

In 2007, Governor Niran Kalayanamit relaxed the ban, allowing operators to transfer registrations from old vessels to new ones, theoretically keeping the number of jet-skis on the island at a maximum of 219.

In reality, the number is far higher. In Patong alone there are now 167 registered jet-skis, compared to 126 in 2004, Mr Chairat said.

Factoring in the the number of jet-skis at the other beaches where they are allowed to operate (Kata, Karon, Kamala and Bang Tao), the total number of jet-skis on the island now far exceeds the 219 permitted under the provincial policy.

Olan Hengcharoen, of the Marine Department’s Phuket Office, which is responsible for jet-ski registrations, said some operators have brought jet-skis registered in other provinces to use in Phuket.

The department cannot legally prevent this, he said.

However, the Phuket office has written to Marine Department offices in other provinces asking for their co-operation in trying to prevent more jet-skis being brought into Phuket.

The Phuket office has also presented the problem to the department headquarters, asking that a clear-cut policy to be issued.

Jet-ski operators present at the meeting were reportedly in favor of the idea to impose mandatory insurance, though they said it would have to be established whether the insurance would cover only damage to the jet-ski itself or be extended to include injuries for the renters and damages to third parties.

Despite the provincial registration ban it is still possible to buy a jet-ski in Phuket.

Mr Ekachai Thongyon, who runs a shop selling Yamaha jet-skis in Cherng Talay for Bt110,000 each, said business has been poor, however.

Sales have fallen to about one jet-ski per month due to the economic downturn, he said.



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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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