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Lost at sea: Thailand – A study from ISLA

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Lost at sea: Thailand – A study from ISLA | The Thaiger

By Daren Jenner, Thailand Section Chief, Marine Safety Officer, International Surf Life Saving Association

The International Surf Lifesaving Association has just released an alarming study it calls “Lost at Sea: Thailand”. The study highlights the stark reality of the dangers of the two-faced Andaman Sea that surrounds the famous holiday Island of Phuket, Thailand.

During the dry season (November to April), Phuket’s ocean waters are the picture-perfect azure paradise that travellers crave. During the monsoon season (May to October), however, the Andaman Sea becomes an angry and violent wave-generator, and Phuket’s west coast beaches change into rip-current-infested danger zones.

In April 2012, the Thai Department of Health stopped publicly releasing drowning figures for Phuket and the surrounding ocean waters. In response, the ISLA has combed available media archives, and compiled a detailed list of documented deaths, along with serious injuries, in the ocean waters surrounding Phuket, including the Greater Phuket area and the gulf of Thailand. The study lists deaths and serious injuries due to drowning and marine accidents from May 2012 to the present (February 5, 2020).

The results of the study are shocking: 253 deaths and 417 serious injuries and non-fatal drownings were documented in the greater Phuket area since May 2012.

Drowning is a Process – Not an Outcome

Q: How can a drowning be non-fatal? Doesn’t someone have to die for it to be a ‘real’ drowning?
A: Drowning is defined by the World Health Organisation as a process.

Once serious respiratory impairment begins due to immersion in liquid, a drowning has occurred. The two main outcomes possible after the drowning process begins are 1) Non-fatal and 2) Fatal. This new way of looking at drowning can be compared to a stroke. With timely medical treatment, stroke patients can survive, but many have severe deficits. The fact the patient survived the stroke does not negate the fact that a stroke occurred. Similarly, drowning patients can survive, and some wind up with severe deficits. The fact that the person survived the drowning does not mean they weren’t drowning in the first place.

REMEMBER: Drowning is a process, and can result in death OR be non-fatal.

Reversing the Trend

The big picture is Phuket’s ongoing drowning epidemic and the worldwide social media attention it has attracted. The goal was, and still is, to assist local lifeguards to create a unified, professional lifeguard force for the Island. Only then will the grisly drownings, jet-ski accidents, vessel collisions with mass casualties, and snorkelling deaths begin to recede.

Only then, will Phuket’s internationally infamous broken marine safety system begin to improve.

On behalf of Phuket’s struggling lifeguards, the ISLA is re-sending its urgent call. Please support a fully-funded and internationally certified lifeguard force for Phuket and the surrounding ocean waters. Properly equipped ocean lifeguards are needed 365 days a year, and are crucial to restoring Phuket’s tourism safety. The time to act is now.

Daren Jenner

Thailand Section Chief, Marine Safety Officer, ISLA

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Drugs

Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests

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Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests | The Thaiger

An early morning drug bust in Rawai, Phuket has yielded 9 arrests. The first raid yesterday consisted of 30 task force members who raided a sea gypsy shack near the beachfront in Rawai.

43 year old Saroch Homhuan, and 34 year old Juree Bangjak, were arrested and charged with posession of a Category I drug with the intent to sell, after police found 9 pills of methamphetamine, or yaba in Thai, over 6 grams of crystal meth, or ya ice in Thai, and 3 other “items of evidence.”

31 year old Suriyan Na Takuathung, and 29 year old Prathip Areerop, were arrested and charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell, and possession of a Category 5 drug respectively. Police say they found 20 pills of methamphetamine, 0.92 grams of dried marijuana and 5 items of drug paraphernalia.

Police also raided 2 houses in Moo 2, arresting 5 suspects, named as 21 year old Vikrom Kongwiriyakul, 32 year old Narunat Chanthamuwong, 18 year old Chanchai Damrongkaset, a woman named Chantha Hansaithong, and 21 year old Warut Rodphan.

Warut was allegedly found with a bottle containing 500 millilitres of kratom juice. Police also say they seized 150 grams of kratom leaf dregs which are used to boil leaves in order to make the juice. Police charged him with posession of a Category 5 drug.

Police say they confiscated a total of 13 litres of kratom juice from 4 other suspects, which was contained in 10 bottles along with other ingredients and equipment to produce the drug cocktail called ‘4×100.’

All 9 suspects were taken to the Chalong Police Station in which only 1 agreed to undergo drug rehabilitation.

The raids come after the Phuket Provincial Government ordered officers of the Muang District Office to target villages where drugs are prevalent. A spokesman for the government said police will continue to remove drug traffickers from the community while working to improve the quality of local people’s lives so they don’t have to use drugs anymore.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April

Maya Taylor

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Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas M on Unsplash

From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan) have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

Foreign tourists opting for area quarantine will be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They will be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, will be allowed to leave their room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. At the end of the 14-day period, they will once again be tested for the virus and, if negative, allowed to travel around the quarantine area.

In order to avail of the scheme, tourists will still need to fulfil the other requirements for travel, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to travel, and adequate health insurance. Nation Thailand reports that the area quarantine plan will be run by 29 travel agencies, under TAT supervision.

The area quarantine scheme comes as the TAT hails the success of the first “golf quarantine” scheme, which operates in a similar manner. Travellers from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19 can come to Thailand for a golf holiday at approved golf resorts in the Kingdom. Conditions are similar to those attached to area quarantine, with the golfers having to spend the first 3 days in their room, test negative for the virus, and then enjoy free rein of the resort, with a few rounds of golf thrown in.

Thailand’s economy has been decimated by the fallout from the pandemic, in particular the loss of international tourism. The current mandatory 14-day quarantine period is seen as the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to re-ignite the sector. In 2019, international tourism contributed 2 trillion baht out of a total 3.01 trillion baht tourism trade. In the same year, tourism made up 17% of Thailand’s GDP.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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