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Port closed, yachts beached as storm lashes Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Local authorities this morning ordered Phuket Rassada Port closed as strong wind and waves lashed the coast and driving rain wreaked havoc with motorists across the island.

Hundreds of tourists waited dockside as the ban took effect, as Rassada Port, located on the east side of Phuket Town, is a major jump-off point for tourists boarding ferries and tour boats to islands in Phang Nga Bay and along the Andaman coast.

Meanwhile, yachts moored in the bay at Ao Yon, further north on Phuket’s east coast, were grounded as the storm took hold.

“We ordered that no passenger boats are to leave shore while this weather continues. We will announce when the ban has been lifted,” Lt Col Chatchai Sakdee of the Phuket Marine Police told the Phuket Gazette.

“Boat owners please be aware of your moorings. The wind is so strong that your boats might move despite being anchored, and yachts tied to moorings may break free,” he warned.

“Anyone need of assistance or want to report any incidents that we might need to know about are urged to call the Phuket Marine Police Hotline 1196 or our usual number 076-211883.

“Alternatively, people can call the Phuket Tourist Rescue Center in Chalong at 076-391598,” Col Sakchai added.

The port closure follows the Thai Meteorological Department issuing a weather warning for Phuket and the Andaman coast at 4am.

Over the past eight hours, wind gusting up to 40kmh and waves of up to four meters high have battered the coast.

“Decreasing rain is expected over the South but isolated heavy to very heavy rain remain in some areas. People in Phuket and other provinces across the Southern Thailand must beware of heavy to very heavy rain,” the TMD warned.

Other provinces named in the warning included Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phang Na, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

Phuket lifeguards have urged tourists not to enter the water at the beaches until the heavy weather has passed.

“Please beware of hard-hitting waves, even those right on the beach. The waves can knock you down and hurt you,” said Wirot Saweangphol, a lifeguard at Karon Beach.

“Waves in Karon are very strong at the moment. Please be careful,” he urged.

Nai Harn chief lifeguard Jula Nontree urged tourists to exercise the same caution there.

“The waves are not very high, but they hit hard close to the shore,” Mr Jula said.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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