AO MAKHAM: The new Customs House and pier at the Ao Makham Deep Sea Port, officially opened yesterday, is expected to play a major role in the protection of the area around the port from various maritime perils, including smuggling and environmental problems. The Customs Department will base five vessels there to intercept fuel-oil smugglers and drug runners. Anti-smuggling operations may also target yachts entering Phuket that are suspected of carrying drugs. Other ships under the aegis of the Customs Department will be on standby to deal with maritime problems such as oil spills and ships in distress. Chavalit Sethameteekul, Director General of Customs Department, who opening the new facility, indicated that the area was ripe for investment and development. “There is already a Thai investor interested in building a marina and shipyard close to the Customs pier,” he said. “I’m sure that the pier area will attract many more investors.”
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