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Ferry rules crackdown sparks fears of “mob’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Ferry rules crackdown sparks fears of “mob’ | Thaiger

THALANG: The Marine Office today began enforcing rules barring ferries from carrying both passengers and cargo, and limiting the number of passengers per ferry on all boats operating from the Bang Rong Pier, sparking fears that ferry operators may oppose the crackdown with a mob.

The move to enforce maritime safety regulations follows the deaths of 10 people in the sinking of the ferry Rungroj off the Koh Yao islands on March 5.

Phuket Marine Office chief Surin Theerakulpisut told the Gazette today, “I believe local people will not accept [the enforcement of safety regulations] at first, but it is good for the long term and good for themselves.

“I also think that a mob might be formed over this issue, but I’m not scared and I am ready to fight for the right reasons.”

K. Surin explained that the move to enforce safety regulations has resulted in ferry operators jacking up the standard fare for the 20-kilometer trip from 50 baht to 80 baht, in order to cover fuel costs as ferries must now have fewer passengers on board.

A resident of Koh Yao Noi told the Gazette that the fare in the other direction is now as much as 100 baht per person.

“The increase in fares is because of [officers’ efforts] to protect against overloading. Many boat owners have said that having only 20-odd passengers per trip, paying 50 baht each, is not enough to cover fuel costs,” K. Surin said.

K. Surin also blamed the overloading of the Rungroj on a “mafia” that has put a limit on the number of ferries operating between Bang Rong and the Koh Yao islands.

“The Rungroj was overloaded because it was the last ferry of the day [from Phuket to Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi].

“There are not enough ferry services [to and from the Koh Yao islands], but that is not because there are not enough boats; it is because there is a ‘mafia’ controlling the number of ferries [on the route].

“If the Marine Department is unable to solve this problem, the provincial governments [of Phuket and Phang Nga] have the authority to increase the number of regular ferries [to the islands],” he added.

K. Surin explained that the decision to crack down on maritime safety followed a meeting on Friday of water transportation officials from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces.

The meeting was chaired by Phang Nga Governor Anuwat Metheeviboonwut, who was ordered to investigate local Marine Office operations in the wake of the Rungroj disaster.

Those who attended Friday’s meeting are expected to meet again on Thursday, K. Surin added.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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