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Phuket Thai Navy base joins anti-pirate joint patrol



PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area, based at Cape Panwa on the east coast of Phuket, is coordinating with other armed forces from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in a joint exercise to combat pirates in the Strait of Malacca.

Under the “Eye in the Sky” program, representatives from each country will join forces in patrolling the strait in aircraft, explained Vice Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan, commander of the Third Naval Area.

“We each take turns doing the patrol. Usually each country checks the area a couple times a month.

“However each country uses its own warships to patrol its territorial waters. We have brought pirating under control since we have started our 24 hour patrols,” he added.

The news was announced at a meeting at the Katina hotel in Phuket Town, called to draw up a security plan for 2012 policies and working methods for the six Andaman provinces: Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

“We are concerned about terrorists in Phuket after the bombing in Bangkok last week,” V/Adm Taratorn Kajitsuwan.

“Phuket is especially a concern because it is a tourist destination and we do not want tourists to be worried about terrorism,” he said.

“We are always working around the clock with the Air force, Marine Corps and Royal Thai Navy Maritime Security Center,” V/Adm Taratorn added.

The navy commander explained that the local Thai Navy base was coordinating with other authorities such as the police, as well as the customs and marine police, to protect Phuket and surrounding areas from any foreboding situation.

“We are taking this situation seriously to gain everyone’s confidence that we are working to the best of our ability to protect the public, the nation and the territorial waters that abut to India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar,” he said.

Questioned about the Navy’s actions in addressing the arrival of Rohingya in Thai territorial waters, V/Adm Taratorn said, “The Rohingya are an international security issue, which is above my authority. I cannot comment on the matter.

“However I can say that we are doing our best to support them in accordance with our obligations as members of the UN [United Nations]. We are Buddhist. We have been taught to help humans and to treat everyone as human,” he added.

— Chutharat Plerin


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