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Cruise liner rallies against paying Phuket port extra fees

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Cruise liner rallies against paying Phuket port extra fees | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The representative of a major cruise line operator that brings thousands of tourists to Phuket each week has lobbied Provincial Hall to stop the company from having to pay “extra fees” levied every time the Phuket Deep Sea Port is double-booked.

At a meeting headed by Phuket Vice Governor Somkiet Sungkaosuthirak on Wednesday, Thanin Thumsuwan of Thoresen Shipping and Logistics Co Ltd explained, “Two of our cruise liners dock at either Phuket Deep Sea Port or anchor off Patong Beach every week, depending on the weather.

“We have to inform the port about a year in advance of when our cruise liners will arrive at the port. But when the time comes, if a cargo ship is docked at the port when one of our ships is due to arrive, the port authority has to ask the cargo ship to move out before we arrive, and dock again after we leave.

“Each time this happens, the cruise liner is asked to pay an extra fee. This is not fair,” said Mr Thanin.

Thamrong Thongtan, Chief of the Phuket Treasury Office, expressed his concern to V/Gov Somkiet, saying, “This practice was introduced without informing them first, so we are afraid that if this problem continues, it will affect the tourism industry and overall economy of Phuket.

“I therefore would like the relevant organizations to think about the potential solutions to the problem,” Mr Thamrong added.

However, Wattanachai Raunglertpanyakul, Director of Chaophaya Terminal International Co Ltd, which has the government concession to operate the Songkhla and Phuket Ports, explained that the service at the Phuket Deep Sea Port was “first come, first served.”

“Even though the [cruise line] company informs the Phuket port in advance of the exact times when their ships will arrive, they still have to wait for any ships using the port to finish what they are doing before they can dock at the port,” he explained.

Mr Wattanachai highlighted that his company was already “bending the rules” on safety in order to support tourism and allow the large cruise liners to use the port.

“The Phuket Deep Sea Port is a cargo port with a quay 360 meters long. Two ships can dock at the same time if the ships do not exceed 175m each. We allow [cruise liner] ships up to 210m long to dock, but the port is not designed to handle ships that size. We allow them to do this only for the sake of supporting the tourism industry,” he explained.

Mr Wattanachai added that, as a temporary solution, he had brokered a deal with cargo ship companies that use the port.

“We have made an agreement with cargo ships that if a cruise liner loaded with passengers wants to dock while they are using the port, they will exit the port to allow all passengers to be unloaded from the cruise liner,” he explained.

“But the condition is that the cruise liners have to pay a fee of about 60,000 up to 100,000 baht, depending on the size of the cargo ship that has to leave the port. Cargo ships have to pay 450,000 to 600,000 baht per day to use the port,” Mr Wattanachai explained.

The port director seized the opportunity to highlight that the stalled port expansion would solve the problem.

“We plan to extend the port from 360m to 420m long so it accommodate more than one large ship at a time. We also plan to build an arrival and departure hall for passengers. It will take at least two years to complete the construction, including passing its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

“When the construction is complete, it will help to fix this problem. Until then, we will have to continue doing what we are doing to fix the problem in short term,” Mr Wattanachai explained.

However, the project to expand the port, at a cost of more than 100 million baht, has stalled over its (EIA) report.

Regardless, Vice Governor Somkiet suggested that, for now, Mr Wattanachai continues with the current solution until the expansion construction has been completed.

“I also recommend that the Phuket Deep Sea Port issue a notice to explain the reasons why the cruise liners have to pay the fee and how much it will cost.

“For my part, I will raise this issue with the governor as the Deep Sea Port is an important gateway for tourism in Phuket,” said Vice Governor Somkiet.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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