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Tsunami detecting radar coming to Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A high-frequency radar system to monitor ocean currents and aid in the detection of tsunami waves will be set up in Patong by the end of the month, local officials say.

The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD), in cooperation with Patong Municipality, is preparing the site at a location called Kor Sai Lod, a headland on the south coast of Patong Bay.

Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukkaban told the Phuket Gazette that Patong Municipality has contracted BO Power Tech Company to run over 100 meters of cable to reach the site at a cost of 189,600 baht.

Once the supply is available, the radar will be installed by its supplier, American firm Medlink, he said.

The Patong radar is one of two that will be installed along the Andaman coast by Medlink under contract with the TMD.

Dr Wattana Kanbua, meteorologist and director of the TMD’s Marine Meteorological Center, told the Gazette the second unit will be installed at Baan Nam Khem in Takuapa District, Phang Nga.

Baan Nam Khem was the worst hit area in Thailand in the 2004 tsunami disaster, with about one-quarter of the estimated population of 6,000 people dying in the waves.

Typically used to monitor ocean currents on an hourly basis, the radar technology can be used to detect and measure the velocity of “particle currents”, known as Bragg waves, detectable above sea waves.

If the velocity of such waves increases unusually fast against the normal background data, it could indicate a tsunami wave moving from deep to shallow water, he said.

A single radar can be used to detect height and velocity, but two units are needed to assess current direction, he explained.

The technology is effective at distances of up to 200 kilometers, he said.

The radar units will also have other useful applications. For example, they could be used to aid in monitoring and predicting the migration of oil spills, he said.

About one-quarter of the world’s oil shipped by sea passes through the Strait of Malacca, the northern end of which lies off the coast of Phuket.

State-run oil firm PTT is currently conducting geologic mapping in three concession zones west and northwest of Phuket, and could begin to drill test boreholes as early as next year if the results are promising.

The overall budget for the TMD project, 200 million baht, includes radar installations to monitor currents in the Gulf of Thailand. Two of these units will be located in Rayong, one on Koh Samui in Surat Thani, and another in the Sichon District of Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Now in its third year, the project is about 80 per cent complete and should be operational by September. Soon thereafter, the TMD will set up a web page allowing the public to monitor sea conditions in real time, Dr Wattana said.

— Atchaa Khamlo / Stephen Fein

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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