PHUKET CITY: The President of Phang Nga Tourist Association, Anupong Sa-Nguannam, yesterday joined the growing lobby against the government’s plan to construct an oil pipeline across Phang Nga, arguing that it threatens tourism and the local fishing industry.
Speaking in Phuket yesterday, he said, “It may well bring money into Thailand in addition to the money brought in by tourism but the construction will cause environmental problems.
“For example, the Similan and Surin islands are some of the world’s top tourist destinations and we are also promoting them as world heritage sites. Big ships in the area could affect the underwater resources, such as corals.”
K. Anupong said the pipeline also put the local fishing industry at risk, mainly because of the danger of pollution if there was an accident.
The proposed 240-kilometer pipeline, known as the Strategic Energy Landbridge, would link oil production sources in the Middle East with consumers in East Asia, avoiding the long journey that tankers must currently take around the Malay Peninsula.
The pipeline plan requires a floating platform be built in the sea several kilometers from Phang Nga’s Tab Lamu district, just south of Khao Lak.
K. Anupong said the association plans to hold a seminar to give local residents and business people a chance to find out more about how the pipeline could affect them.
He said, “All three tourist associations – Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi – have signed a letter to the Prime Minister [protesting] the project because if there is an accident, it will affect all three provinces and our image for tourists.”
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