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Officials scramble as illegal tanker sinks, spills oil into Phuket canal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Officials scramble as illegal tanker sinks, spills oil into Phuket canal | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Marine Police scrambled this morning to contain an oil spill from an abandoned illegal tanker that sank in the Tah Jeen Canal on the east side of Phuket Town last night.

The sunken boat, modified into an illegal tanker with the capacity to hold an estimated 20,000 liters of diesel oil, was spotted by local villagers at about 7:30am.

“We called in another tanker, the Chok Thavorn 11, which recovered about 10,000 liters of oil from the sunken boat,” Phuket Marine Police Deputy Inspector Jeerayuth Onthong told the Phuket Gazette.

To stop the oil slick from spreading into the canal, which separates Koh Sireh from Phuket, the team of officers installed a containment boom around it.

Officials have yet to estimate how much oil leached into the canal, at the mouth of which sits the busy Rassada Pier (map here), Phuket’s main jump-off point for tourists heading to Phi Phi Island.

“Local residents told us the boat anchored there last night. It’s likely the boat started taking on water still at sea, so the captain would have brought it into the canal to fix it,” Lt Jeerayuth explained.

“He probably abandoned the boat once he realized he couldn’t salvage the boat or the oil,” he added.

Phuket Marine Office records identify the sunken vessel as the Premika, registered as a fresh water tanker owned by Teerakrit Suesakul, from Rassada.

“We have identified the boat and the owner, but we have yet to find him,” Phuket Marine Police Inspector Chatchai Sakdee told the Gazette.

Lt Col Chatchai explained this was not the first time the Premika had been found illegally carrying diesel oil.

“We checked our files and found that the boat was seized two times in 2011. Both times were at the Deep Sea Port,” he said.

“The first time it was seized while illegally carrying 20,000 liters of diesel oil. The second time it was caught with 40,000 liters,” Col Chatchai added.

Lt Jeerayuth explained that if a boat is caught illegally transporting oil, the boat owner will be fined. If he can’t pay the fine, he faces imprisonment.

“Once you pay the fine, the case if finished,” he added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon

Maya Taylor

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Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bang Saen beach, Chonburi - Wikimedia

A Facebook post from the mayor of Saen Suk, home to the renowned Bangsaen beach, says beaches “may” reopen from June 1. (Before you ask, there is currently no official information on when Bangsaen, Pattaya or Phuket’s beaches may actually reopen.)

Beaches in the eastern province of Chonburi were closed nearly two months ago as authorities enacted strict lockdown measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Chonburi has now had no new reported cases of the virus for more than 30 days and residents are getting antsy over the ongoing beach closures.

Authorities continue to state that the closures are to prevent unlawful gatherings and the risk of people travelling from nearby provinces, such as Bangkok, thereby causing a second wave of infections. Bangkok has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Despite this, local expats and Thais are demanding that Chonburi’s beaches be reopened, particularly in light of this happening in other resort areas such as Hua Hin.

The Pattaya News reports that Bangsaen beach reopening does not necessarily mean Pattaya’s beaches could also reopen as that decision lies with Pattaya’s civic officials. Despite Pattaya not having any new reported cases of the virus for over 40 days now, Pattaya City Hall authorities remain concerned about mass gatherings, the consumption of alcohol and the risk that social distancing measures would not be adhered to were they to reopen the city’s beaches.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Phuket

Bangkok mother, daughter swindled out of 1.8 million baht, suspect arrested

Jack Burton

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Bangkok mother, daughter swindled out of 1.8 million baht, suspect arrested | The Thaiger
PHOTO: VateekhaoWeekly

Authorities in the southern province of Phuket have arrested a man wanted in Bangkok for swindling a woman and her mother out of nearly 2 million baht. Police in the island’s party town of Patong report that officers received a request from police in Bangkok to arrest 23 year old Narathip Sukprasert, originally from Lop Buri province, about 150 kilometres to Bangkok’s northeast.

Narathip was wanted for fraud on an arrest warrant issued back on January 6. Patong Police managed to track him down, and together with officers from Bangkok, arrested him on Monday. Authorities say he used the names “Nook Tha Prachan” or “Wayu Tha Prachan” and dealt in Buddha amulets.

“He deceived his female victim by pretending to be romantically attracted to her. When the woman said she wanted things, he would buy them and pay by using his credit card. He later told the woman that he had problems with his credit card because he had spent too much, so his victim gave him cash to pay for his alleged credit card bill,” according to the report in Phuket News.

The woman transferred money to Narathip’s account many times, totalling nearly 250,000 baht. After swindling money out of the woman, Narathip deceived her mother as well, claiming that she too would be held legally responsible for the debt and that the bank would sue her.

“The victim’s mother believed this, and gave him money several times. Altogether he deceived the women out of more than 1.8 million baht.”

Narathip was taken to Bang Na Police Station in Bangkok.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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