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Sunken Phuket speedboat was legal: Marine Office

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Sunken Phuket speedboat was legal: Marine Office | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Following the capsize of the speedboat Luk Pradu 26 off Phi Phi Island on Monday, Marine Office chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut has confirmed to the Gazette that the Luk Pradu 26 was legal and both structurally and mechanically sound.

“The speedboat [was a composite] with some parts fabricated from wood. There were no problems with the vessel. It was insured, licensed and inspected annually. Furthermore the boat was crewed on that day by an engineer and driver who are both experienced boat handlers.”

“The speedboat capsized due to the heavy storm,” he said, adding “In accordance with our safety regulations, the boat was carrying life jackets for all passengers.”

Mr Phuripat assesses that the capsizing was an accident and as such, the boat operator was not to face charges.

Phuket Marine Police confirmed that all passengers and crew were alive; the final 24 survivors being landed at Chalong Pier that same afternoon.

Pongsak Pachantabut, the manager of Phuket New Generation Travel Company, confirmed to the Gazette that there were 37 tourists of varying nationalities and four crew members on board the Luk Pradu 26.

He also vowed to cover all medical expenses for those injured in the incident and to offer compensation for the emotional stress suffered.

“Another speedboat was able to immediately rescue 13 tourists, including a child, and take them back to Koh Phi Phi,” Mr Pongsak said.

However, that left 24 tourists and the crew members bobbing in the rough sea for more than an hour.

Porrared Eakjit, a tour guide from the vessel V-Marine 1 assisted in the rescue of passengers in the water.

“Two of our boats were leaving Maya Bay with tourists heading back to Phuket after a trip to Krabi. We were about five nautical miles from Phi Phi when we came across the survivors in the water.”

V-Marine 1 recovered the remaining 24 tourists and crew who had been in the water for an hour.

“Some were injured and all looked exhausted,” Mr Porrared said.

A video of the rescue of the survivors has been posted on YouTube (click here).

At Chalong Pier seven tourists from China, England and Indonesia were transferred by ambulance to Phuket International Hospital for treatment to a variety of minor injuries.

Given that storm weather caused the sinking, the Gazette asked Chief Phuripat for his views on how boat operators act on weather warnings issued by the Thailand Meteorological Department (TMD).

“The TMD is responsible for issuing weather warnings. However in some cases, tour operators have other factors to consider in their decision making process; such as, when their clients have already booked the trip.”

“Unfortunately we cannot force the operators to cancel trips,” Chief Phuripat said.

Phuket New Generation Travel manager Pongsak Pachntabut said that they are still looking for the wreck of the Luk Pradu 26, which sank about half an hour after the accident.

The salvage team do not know exactly where speedboat is lying, but they are still searching.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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

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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