PHUKET: Officials have charged the Peruvian captain of an illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing vessel for falsely reporting the cargo of his ship as he attempted to offload 182 tonnes of Antarctic toothfish illegally caught in the Southern Ocean.
The ship, which recently had its name changed from Kunlun to Taishan, had already fled from the navies of New Zealand and Australia, as well as global conservation organization Sea Shepherd, before passing through Indonesian waters and mooring near Phuket (story here).
The captain, Jose Alberto Zavaleta Salas, reported the cargo as 182 tonnes of grouper, valued at about 15 million baht. However, experts have confirmed that the ship had in fact offloaded 182 tonnes of Antarctic toothfish, valued at about 179mn baht.
Mr Salas has been charged for falsely reporting goods to customs, confirmed Royal Thai Customs Investigation and Suppression Bureau (ISB) team leader Charoen Chamniklang.
Mr Salas also faces charges for falsely reporting the ship’s flag and registration.
The handler that received the fish, South Services Co Ltd, has also been charged for its role in illegally importing the fish into Thailand.
Canadian environmental activist and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Paul Franklin Watson posted his concerns on his Facebook page last Sunday that the Taishan and its crew would be merely pushed out of Thai waters without any legal action being taken against them.
“The Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia is reporting that a Thai government ship will escort what they describe as a ‘pirate’ ship to mile 201, where it will be freed and banned from returning to Thai
waters,” Mr Watson wrote.
“No fines. No arrests. And there is no information yet as to the location of the US$5.6mn cargo of 182 tonnes of toothfish; if it was returned to the Kunlun [now Taishan] or if it is off to market to restaurants and fish markets around the world.”
Speaking to the Phuket Gazette this morning, Mr Charoen was able to lay to rest some of Mr Watson’s concerns about the handling of the case, as he confirmed that Taishan would remain at the Phuket Deep Sea Port until at least the Thai investigation was complete.
“The vessel remains at the Phuket Deep Sea Port, and the fish product is being held at the Songkla Customs office while we continue our investigation,” Mr Charoen said.
“It will take time for us to conduct the investigation. Until we have sorted out and finalized everything, the boat will remain in Phuket. I have no idea for how long it will remain in our custody.”
Mr Watson additionally voiced his concern that no net or other fishing equipment was found on board the fishing vessel.
“One very worrying fact is that the Thais found no nets or fishing gear on board the Kunlan. These nets were seen on board by the New Zealand Navy two months before. It is assumed that the Kunlun threw the nets, which could exceed 100 kilometers, over the side prior to entering Thai waters. If so, this would mean that there is now a massive drifting ghost net causing ecological havoc in the Indian Ocean,” Mr Watson wrote.
Mr Charoen confirmed to the Gazette that the Marine Office, Fisheries Department and Customs Office were working together with Interpol regarding alleged crimes that occurred outside of Thai waters.
“Many of the alleged violations occurred outside of our jurisdiction. So we are expecting Interpol to take the lead in regards to seeking justice in those alleged crimes,” Mr Charoen said.
— Chutharat Plerin
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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