Connect with us


Marine Chief defends agency after sinking



Marine Chief defends agency after sinking | Thaiger

PHUKET: Surin Tirakulpisut, Head of the Phuket Marine Office, defended his agency in the face of scathing criticism, both in the media and by Government officials, after the disastrous sinking of the ferry Rungroj last Saturday.

The last victim of the Rungroj was pulled from the sea yesterday evening, bringing the final death toll to 10.

The victim was identified as Jureerat Matchakul, 20, a student at Phuket Rajabhat University. Her body was discovered offshore by local villagers at about 6 pm, not far from where the the 13-meter boat capsized and sank last Saturday in heavy seas between Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.

Following a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Government Spokesman Jakrapob Penkair wondered aloud how a vessel licensed to carry just 22 people could have ever been allowed to depart from Bang Rong Pier in Thalang with 75 passengers aboard.

K. Surin told the Gazette today that the Phuket Marine Office had just eight officers, allowing only random inspections at piers about 10 days a month.

He added that following the tragedy he had requested more officers to conduct inspections at piers commonly used by tourists, such as at Ao Chalong, Bang Rong and Ao Por.

He also lashed out at the media for inaccurate reporting. “In fact, the total number of passengers that day was 53, with just two motorcycles. It was not 75 people with 10 motorcycles, as some in the media have reported,” he said.

(Jantira Pikulphol, Head Nurse at Koh Yao Hospital, confirmed to the Gazette this afternoon that hospital records showed 62 passengers from the Rungroj were treated at the facility and that the bodies of 10 victims were sent there, indicating that no fewer than 72 people were on board.)

K. Surin reiterated that his staff had done the best they could with the resources available.

“It’s always difficult after an accident like this, but I would like to confirm that in the past we always carried out inspections. We also put up signs at each pier warning ferry operators not to overload their vessels and to make sure all passengers wear life jackets.

“But we simply don’t have the manpower to check every vessel every time,” he said.

He went on to explain that first-time violators for overloading were fined 10,000 baht, second-time violators 20,000 baht and third-time violators had their licenses revoked.

Clearly frustrated at the intransigence of ferry operators, he told the Gazette that just days after the Rungroj disaster he had had to fine another vessel for overcrowding.

“This just shows how difficult it is to change the habits of local citizens when it comes to safety issues,” he said.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Eastern Thailand14 hours ago

German man believed to have monkeypox briefly fled police

Thailand15 hours ago

New app to help migrant women in Thailand facing abuse

Cambodia16 hours ago

Nigerian man recovers from monkeypox, handed to Cambodian authorities

Sponsored3 days ago

The return of the most important coffee event in Thailand

World17 hours ago

Unusually heavy floods in Pakistan kill 549, thousands of homes damaged

Thailand17 hours ago

How to get the Thailand Elite Visa?

Transport18 hours ago

BTS is offering a free ride… with your mom

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok18 hours ago

Fire at Energy Ministry’s compound in Bangkok

Phuket19 hours ago

2 meth busts in Phuket this past week

Politics19 hours ago

NIDA Poll: PM Prayut should not extend term after August 24

Chon Buri21 hours ago

Mountain Pub fire: 15 victims dead, owner arrested, club uninsured

Chon Buri21 hours ago

Police transferred, safety measures enacted in wake of Mountain B fire

Bangkok22 hours ago

Bangkok taxi driver who snapped himself raping teen gets jailed

Video22 hours ago

Building a $100mil business in Thailand feat. Michael Kenner | Thaiger Podcast Ep. 1

Tourism23 hours ago

Major jump in Thailand Airbnb searches

Economy23 hours ago

Thailand’s hotels are short on workers

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11