Mr Phuripat left Phuket after meeting with media at 10am before sharing lunch farewell together with his media colleagues.
Mr Phuripat first arrived in Phuket in 2004 took up the post of Phuket Marine Chief under the name Surin Theerakulpisut. He stayed until 2007, when he was transferred to the post of Marine Chief in Chumphon province, on the Gulf of Thailand.
He returned to Phuket as Phuket Marine Chief in 2010, this time with his new given name, Phuripat, and last year was promoted to “Acting Director Marine Office 5”, a position he held concurrently while still serving as Phuket Marine Chief, until yesterday.
Mr Phuripat confirmed to The Phuket News that his transfer was a “special order”, falling outside the usual annual nationwide government promotions and transfers announced and effective each October.
“I received the order on February 15 to move to be Director of Marine Office 2 in Nonthaburi. My responsibility will cover Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces. I will start work there on Monday (Feb 29), Mr Phuripat confirmed, but declined to give any reason for the order
Mr Phuripat said he welcomed the move and expected no serious challenges in his new post.
“I am glad to go. I can do everything needed to be done there, as marine operations there are not too different from the management required in Phuket,” he said.
His new post will see Mr Phuripat run marine operations, including ferry services, on a large tract of the Chao Phraya River and the major canals snaking throughout the area, but no major ports.
Asked what he will miss the most about Phuket, he said, “I will miss my friends and media connections in Phuket.”
Although he said he does not own a home in Phuket, Mr Phuripat assured that he would return to the island from time to time.
“Surely, I will come back to see my friends,” he said
Asked what he would like to see achieved after his departure, he urged, “I wish to see the mega-investment project at Royal Phuket Marina become a success and that the Phuket Airport boat service become a reality.
“The airport boat service will cost about B25 million to complete its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to complete the entire construction will cost about B300 million,” he said.
Asked why the name change in the two brief years he spent away from Phuket, he explained, “I changed my given name to Phuripat in the hope of enjoying better fortune in my life.
“Also, the ‘Phu’ in Phuket and the ‘Phu’ in Phuripat are the same ‘Phu’,” he added.