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Phuket coral restoration begins as seawalking continues

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket coral restoration begins as seawalking continues | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Marine officers and volunteer divers who headed to Khai Nai island on Tuesday to help restore damaged coral – allegedly wrecked by a seawalking tour company (story here) – found the company back on site leading a tour when they arrived.

“We saw a ship named Sea Lion in the area with a speedboat alongside. People were on the speedboat and tourists wearing seawalking helmets were diving in the sea,” said Somying Phuangprasan, a Fishery Specialist at the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).

The DMCR group took photos of the seawalkers, she said.

Unfortunately, because police officers and officers from the Tourism and Guide Registration office came too late to witness the seawalking themselves, they could not press charges, said fellow DMCR officer Somuek Boonyai.

Tourist police officers ordered the Sea Lion to leave the area and escorted it away, he added.

As of April 15, complaints against the company had been reported to the DMCR, the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), the Phuket Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment, the governors of both Phuket and Phang Nga, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Inspector-General and the Chief Executive of that ministry.

However, charges have yet to be filed against the company.

“We have tried to contact the owner of the company, but he always sends his staff, who don’t know anything,” said Jakrit Janjit, Registrar of the Bureau of Tourism Business and Guide Registration Phuket office.

“This is the third time I have gone to inspect this case,” he continued.

“I have never seen any tourists on site. Today, I met only the captain of the boat and some crew, and that is not enough evidence to charge them with operating an illegal tourism business.

“The photos taken by the DMCR don’t clearly show tourists seawalking,” he said.

My main concern is that we don’t have enough evidence to press charges against anyone,” Mr Jakrit said.

“It is likely that they may sue us, and I don’t want that,” he added.

“With enough evidence, if the company operating seawalking is not registered, it will be charged with operating an illegal tourism business. If it is a registered company, it will be charged with destroying a tourist attraction,” he explained.

Once the Sea Lion left the area, volunteer divers proceeded to repair the 300 square meters of damaged coral.

Led by Dr Nalinee Thongtam, the senior marine specialist at the PMBC, who first saw the damage on March 22 and subsequently publicized it, the team started by installing steel frameworks into the sea floor.

The divers then used telephone wire and cable ties to attach pieces of living coral to the frames.

Fragments of dead coral were later dumped on the damaged area to provide a substructure for new coral to grow.

“Around 600 coral frags are still alive, but the restoration process will take at least five to six years, because the growth rate of coral is slow,” said Thanate Mannoi, chief of the Phuket DMCR office.

The team plans to return to the site in three months to check on the coral.

— Namsai Wongsaeree



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Phuket

Water shut offs to hit parts of Cherng Talay for two weeks

The Thaiger

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Water shut offs to hit parts of Cherng Talay for two weeks | The Thaiger

The Phuket Water Authority (PWA) has announced that water supply in some areas of Cherng Talay will be shut off from March 19 – 31 at ‘some times’ during the day.

Water will be shut off while work is being carried out on moving main water pipes. Areas to be affected include parts of Cherng Talay.

“Residents in these areas should save water to use during the period of the shutoffs.  Water might have some discolouration after the repairs. We will complete the works as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

For more information, please call the PWA at 076 319 173, 082 790 1634

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Phuket

25 year old electrical contractor electrocuted in Chalong, Phuket

The Thaiger

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25 year old electrical contractor electrocuted in Chalong, Phuket | The Thaiger

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A 25 year old electrical contractor has died after accidentally touching a high voltage power cabling in Chalong. Police say that the power was still connected when the man was working.

Pakasit Raksakam was working on the cabling when he accidentally touched a cable that was still live, according to fellow contractors working nearby. Rescue workers arrived on Soi Na Yai off Chao Fah West road to find co-workers attempting to revive the man. He was working six metres above the ground when the incident happened some time shortly before 2pm on Saturday.

Pakasit was rushed to to the Emergency Centre of the new Chalong Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was a contract worker with the Sapcharoen Company.

Work colleagues say that Pakasit from Thalang was an electrical contractor installing high-voltage cabling on power poles.

Chalong Police are conducting an investigation and speaking to other contractors to determine whether to press charges.

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Phuket

Water shut offs to hit parts of Patong, Kata and Karon for a week

The Thaiger

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Water shut offs to hit parts of Patong, Kata and Karon for a week | The Thaiger

The Phuket Water Authority (PWA) has announced that water supply in some areas of Patong, Kata and Karon will be shut off from 9am to 5pm from March 25 – 31.

Water will be shut off while work is being carried out in the repair and maintenance of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) water pumping station in Karon.

Areas to be affected include parts of Patong, Kata and Karon.

“Residents in these areas should save water to use during the period of the shutoffs.  Water might have some discolouration after the repairs. We will complete the works as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

For more information, please call the PWA at 076 319 173, 082 790 1634 or 1662.

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