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More submarine plans for Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



More submarine plans for Phuket | Thaiger

PHUKET: Another submarine will enter Phuket’s water soon, if a company from the mid-Pacific island of Saipan gets its wish. Jack McClure, general manager of Pacific Subsea Saipan Inc, today met with local officials, including the Governor of Phuket, Pongpayome Vasaputi, to brief them about his company’s plans. Pacific Subsea Saipan already runs submarine tours in Saipan, and wants to launch a similar operation in Phuket. The submarine the company proposes to use here is 22 meters long and can hold up to 50 passengers. It is equipped with breathing apparatus that can provide air for a full load of passengers for up to an hour. It can dive to a depth of 30 meters and has a maximum speed of 2 knots. “Submarine tours are very popular in many countries right now because some people cannot dive or swim,” Mr McClure explained. “And there are five times more tourists here than there are in Saipan.” Also present at the meeting, held at the Provincial Hall, were officials from the local Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office, the Phuket Harbor Master’s Office and the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet. Gov Pongpayome suggested that the civilian submarine be referred to as an “underwater vessel” to avoid people confusing it with a military submarine. “We are having difficulty identifying which regulations apply to this underwater vessel,” he added, “because, like the Subrider proposal, this is new for us.” Six days ago, Sitthichai Wonsrivikit showed officials his Subrider mini-submarines, which can hold four passengers at a time, and which he is already operating off Koh Hey. “Our main concerns are for people’s safety and for the environment,” the Governor said. “This underwater vessel seems safe for our environment and could be very interesting for tourists. But what laws will apply are still under consideration.”


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