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Portuguese Man-of-War back at the beaches



PHUKET: Sirinath National Park chief Kitiphat Tharapiban said today that ‘water activities’ have been suspended at Phuket’s Nai Thon, Layan and Nai Yang beaches after blooms of Portuguese Man-of-War siphonophore were spotted in the national park area on Friday (September 23).

“Stings from the Portuguese Man-of-War can be fatal so we have closed the beaches and posted warning notices where these deadly creatures have been spotted,” said Mr Kitiphat.

The venomous siphonophore – also known as the ‘blue bottle’ or ‘floating terror’ – are a common occurrence off Phuket during the monsoon season.

“We have asked lifeguards to make sure beach goers are aware of the blue bottle danger, which should be over once the monsoon season ends,” said the park chief.

Warning notices also went up today at nearby Maya Bay and Phi Phi Ley in Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

“Only use sea water to rinse the wound if you get stung by a blue bottle, warned Phi Phi park chief Sarayuth Tanthien, adding that man-of-war stings should not be treated like jellyfish stings, which are commonly treated with vinegar or plain water.

“Get to hospital as soon as possible if you are stung by a man-of-war, said Mr Sarayuth.

Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyut Chuayuan said lifeguards have seen blooms of the poisonous marine creatures off several of Phuket’s beaches.

“Swimmers must be responsible for their own safety. The blue bottles float on the surface. Make sure you are not at risk of getting stung, and swim only in areas where lifeguards are on duty – and where there are no red flags flying,” warned Mr Prathaiyut.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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