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Mysterious seaweed invades Patong Beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Mysterious seaweed invades Patong Beach | The Thaiger

PATONG: Tourists strolling along Patong Beach now have an extra something to remember about their stay in Phuket – a slimy, brown seaweed with a stench to match its looks.

This is not the first time seaweed has invaded the Patong shore. Two years ago bright green seaweed covered the sand (See story here). This year, however, the seaweed is brown.

Marine biologist Nipawan Bussarawit, from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), said that she was first told about the seaweed nearly three weeks ago. “We took water samples for testing, and the water quality was okay,” she said, adding that PMBC staff also collected samples of the seaweed.

“However, we’re not sure whether the seaweed there now is the same as the one that was being washed ashore three weeks ago. The seaweed that appeared about February 5 was Cladophora. It’s a green seaweed but it turns brown when dries,” K. Nipawan said.

“Patong Municipality cleaned up [the Cladophora], but it seems it has come back,” she added.

Jet-ski operator Weerapan Choosangjan said, “It doesn’t look the same as the green seaweed that we saw a couple of years ago, this one looks like moss or algae. The color is brown, and it’s darker than normal seaweed. And it stinks.”

K. Weerapan said that tourists had complained that Patong Beach now looks like Pattaya when it had “dirty” water. “They are saying that if it continues to be dirty like this they will not come back next year, and now many tourists don’t want to go swimming because of this dirty stuff, and the water is starting to smell bad.

“You can’t see it clearly from the beach, but you can see the dark shadows under the water. When you touch it, it feels slimy,” he added.

English tourist Jenny Sherwin, relaxing on the beach this morning, said that this was the first time she had seen something like this. “I have been to Phuket six or seven times, but I have never seen anything like this before. It’s not very nice.”

Masseuse Somchart Taosarn, 38, who has been working on Patong Beach for the past five years,

told the Gazette, “I first saw it at the north end of the beach at the beginning of February and it has been here for about two weeks.

“Tourists say it stinks but they still sit on the beach. But they don’t swim near the shore. Instead, they swim further out in deeper water,” she said.

K. Somchart said that every morning for about an hour, Patong Municipality workers scour the beach picking up the seaweed.

“But there’s so much, and the cleaners stop work when the tourists start arriving at the beach, so more seaweed washes ashore after they’ve left,” she explained.

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Tourism

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

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

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

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

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

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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