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Video Report: Superyacht charter licence floated by Marine Dept

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Video Report: Superyacht charter licence floated by Marine Dept | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Standardized criteria for foreign-flagged superyacht chartering licences, which are designed to move Phuket and Thailand toward the goal of becoming the regional maritime hub, will be finalized by the end of the month, it was announced last week.

The current issuance of such licences is subjective and dealt with case by case, explained Marine Department Director-General Chula Sukmanop.

“We are looking to issue one-year temporary licences to vessels that are 30 meters or longer. We expect them to be crewed by about 12 or more people,” Mr Chula explained.

“There are many superyacht owners who would bring their superyachts to Phuket if they could charter them while here, and I know many people who charter superyachts around the world for in excess of US$100,000 [about 3.4 million baht] per week,” said Gulu Lalvani, chairman of Royal Phuket Marina.

“Introducing a charter licence for superyachts whose owners wish to charter in Thailand will significantly increase charter revenue for the country.”

With its world-class cruising grounds, Thailand is the destination of choice for superyachts coming to Asia, and amendments to the current rules and regulations are expected to encourage growth in superyacht arrivals and potential charter income, Mr Lalvani noted.

To illustrate the economic advantages that the superyacht industry could bring to Phuket and Thailand, Nick Wyatt, marina manager for Yacht Haven Marina (YHM), broke down the numbers for January 2014.

At YHM there were 14 vessels between 30m and 40m with an average value of about 1.3 billion baht; seven vessels between 40m and 50m with an average value of 1.7bn baht; and 10 vessels between 50m and 60m with an average value of 2bn baht. Given that the industry standard for calculating a vessel’s operation costs is 10 per cent of its value per year, vessels at YHM generated more than 49mn baht with an average of 31 superyachts a month.

“This excludes crew spending – which will see funds go to restaurants, bars, car hire providers, massage parlors and many other businesses – as well as funds used for major projects,” Mr Wyatt pointed out.

“The proof that catering to the industry has a positive economic impact is easy to see. Consider the amount of development in the marine industry, as a whole, which is only about 16-years-old in Thailand. We went from zero to four major marinas in Phuket – all relatively busy with a cumulative dockage of about 900 berths. Additionally, there are boats on the hardstands and others anchored around the island,” Mr Wyatt said.

A presentation given to the marine department in 2011 by Zara Tremlett, also a marina manager for Yacht Haven, outlined many of the “Multiplier benefits” beyond direct cash to the economy.

“A Thai workforce trained to international yachting industry standards, therefore offering new employment opportunities with a high level of added value; local contractors benefiting from working at the high end of the business with top-quality products, becoming recognized and recommended by the superyacht industry for other major superyacht refit projects; the opportunity to develop and offer ultra high-end products and services to meet the expectations of superyacht clientele and guests, helping to position Phuket in the high-end tourism destination segment; and foreign direct investment and business joint-venture opportunities from superyacht owners – almost all high-end businessmen – and guests in Phuket and Thailand,” the report explained.

Chris Gordon, founder of Sunsail yacht charter and managing director of The Village on Coconut Island, took a slightly different slant in the meeting, asking that the Marine Department look at widening the remit of the temporary charter yacht licence.

“The real benefit to Phuket and Thailand in general is the crewed yachts, which tend to run at a slightly smaller size, somewhere around 60 feet up to about 100 feet. At that size you need to employ people to look after them and they brings in quality tourists. That doesn’t mean we don’t want the superyachts, and the big, big ones, they’re fine, but they come and they go,” Mr Gordon said.

“The owners of these smaller cruising yachts will base their boat in an area and keep them there. This, of course, will bring real money to the local economy in a number of ways, from hiring local staff to general maintenance.”

Mr Gordon emphasized the fact that the support for the larger yachts was welcome. However, he pointed out that many of the owners of boats between 60 and 100 feet were ‘reasonably rich’ and looking to offset their operation costs, as opposed to the mega-wealthy superyacht owners.

However, Mr Chula said that the government had good reason restricting the temporary license to yachts of 30m and over.

“We have picked 30 meters as the marker for superyachts because we don’t have many yachts of that size currently in Thailand, and we don’t want to interfere in Thai charter businesses that are already established and operating here,” Mr Chula said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Weather

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued

The Thaiger

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Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Rawai Mayor, Aroon Solos, ordered all beaches in the area to close after a foreigner was rescued this morning after being unable to make it back to shore. The foreigner was swimming off Ao Sane beach, just north of the popular Nai Harn Beach, when lifeguards were sent out to help bring him back to shore. The recent weather has been partly attributed to Tropical Storm Noul as other beaches areas around Patong have been closed since Friday.

Mayor Aroon ordered both the Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches closed until further notice.

Noul crossed over the Vietnamese coastline in the early hours of Friday morning and tracked westwards into Laos, then Thailand’s north east, dragging in moisture from the Indian Ocean and intensifying the south-west monsoon.

The Chief of the Cherngtalay Tambon says that, once weather is more stable, the island’s beaches will reopen.

“All beaches in our area, Surin Beach, Bang Tao beach and other beaches, are closed today. We will reopen them when the weather improves.” Strong winds have contributed to falling trees and power outages across the island with one tree falling on the island’s main traffic artery, Thepkasattri Road, blocking traffic.

Officials are also warning road travellers to drive carefully after a car reportedly flipped over yesterday during wet conditions. The Thai Meteorological Department has also re-issued a weather warning today, saying that Noul has been now downgraded from a Category 3 tropical storm to a tropical depression.

The remnants of Noul currently sit over the Kancanaburi province after surging through Thailand’s north eastern and central provinces earlier today.

“Strong wind waves are likely in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In the upper portion of both seas, the waves will be likely 2-4 meters high and more than 4 meters high in thundershowers. In the lower portion, the waves will be likely about 2 meters and in thundershower areas more than 3 meters high. All ships keep ashore through 20 September.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out | The Thaiger

Residents in Phuket, particularly those living in and around the west coast townships, are reportedly going hungry as the government’s municipal budget to provide food has been depleted. Despite efforts to revive tourism in the area, thousands of people are still in need of donated food to survive and continue to queue up for donated food every day. A public relations staff member at the Patong municipality says, sadly, there is no budget to do any more food handouts in the near future and that there is no word on when or if there will be any more handouts.

The Phuket Town Deputy Mayor told The Phuket News that there has only been 2 handouts since the pandemic struck the tourist-reliant area. One handout was in March while the last handout was in June with the mayor saying 28 million baht was spent in those 2 handouts. Meanwhile a number of foreign residents in the town have been providing supplies for food queues for many months to help the impoverished residents.

One Phuket expat says the majority of those affected in the Patong area are Burmese migrant workers, with long queues for private donations still being seen on the streets of Patong. Such private donations are a result of charity events that are being held across the island with the assistance of dedicated volunteers.

Like Thailand’s Mental Health Department, many are concerned about the impact that food insecurity is having on those struggling. According to the department, 2,551 people had killed themselves across Thailand in the first half of 2020, a 22 % increase, year on year. In response, the National Reform Committee on Labour was ordered on September 11 to issue an amnesty on all outstanding debts, while providing financial support anyone who remains unemployed on the island.

At a recent meeting, other requests were made that include the government giving incentives for more Thais to visit the island and to use social security funds and soft loans as support for local business owners. For now, the situation is grim as Phuket residents are resorting to relying on private charities for food donations.

Phuket’s vice governor Phichet saysd that Phuket has been badly affected by the Covid crises, and delivered 3 requests to the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism… to extend the financial support by the Social Security Office for a further 3 months, allow workers from other provinces to transfer their house registration to Phuket so the Phuket government can receive more funds to provide better care for them, and ask the Ministry of Labour to provide assistance to at least 1,000 unemployed in Phuket.

Whilst the government unveiled plans for a “Phuket Model” to revive tourism on the island, it came to nothing, despite a high power delegation of Ministers and Bangkok officials who visited Phuket 2 weekends ago.

One such charity is set to record a song by leading Phuket musicians with the hopes of continuing to help feed those in need on the island.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Weather

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts

The Thaiger

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Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts | The Thaiger

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea. The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. But the remnants of the storm won’t “slam” into Northern Thailand as one news site claimed – rather it will be a lot of rain and increased winds. The storm is expected to cross into Thailand around the Mukdahan province some time early tomorrow,

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Thailand north east ‘Isaan’ provinces will be the worst affected as they are in the direct track of the storm as it crosses Vietnam, into Laos, and then crossing Thailand’s borders in the upper north east in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Whilst tropical storm ‘Noul’ has been packing winds from 80 – 120 kilometres per hour as it reaches the central Vietnam coast areas, including popular tourist locations like Da Nang and Hoi An, the storm will continue to dissipate as it moves inland. The storm has been tracking across the South China Sea this week, gathering strength, in a west northwesterly direction.

Residents in the coastal town of Hoi An report that it rained continuously last night, with strong winds, and that they expect widespread flooding to be reported during the day.

The forecast for heavy rain in Bangkok will probably dampen some of the enthusiasm for tomorrow’s anti-government rally to be held in and around the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus.

Here are the forecasts for Saturday and Sunday around the country…

Bangkok

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Phuket

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Pattaya

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Khon Kaen

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Koh Samui

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Read more about Thailand’s annual monsoons HERE.

SOURCE: weather.com

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