“I have asked officials to investigate the boats shown in the video and track down those responsible. Thank you for sending us this evidence,” Worapoj Lomlim, Chief of the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, told The Phuket News today (Sept 11).
The seven-minute clip, supplied to The Phuket News, shows several speedboats dropping their anchors onto coral reef from within the water near the boats. Some parts of the clip shows groups of tourists snorkelling beside the boats, and shows sections of badly damaged coral.
The clip is dated Sunday, Sept 3.
The names and registration numbers of the boats are plainly seen in the clip.
“Look at the damage to the reef! Sometimes as many as 50 speedboats are here at the same time,” said the maker of the video, who asked not to be named.
“I’ve known this reef for many years and the damage began only when the speedboats started to bring customers there, less than one year ago.
“This is unsustainable. I understand the people must make money from tourists, but there must be a better way than destroying the reefs? Destroying the reefs they have brought tourists to see,” he said.
“Why should the reefs be destroyed for the profit of only a few business owners? What will be their business when there is no more reef?” he added.
Suchart Rattanareangsri, Director of Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket branch’s Conservation Department, gave words of encouragement for people supplying evidence of such incidents.
“There are so many boats dropping their anchors illegally. When people send evidence to us, we can investigate it. Thank you for helping to prevent the destruction of coral reefs,” he said.
“Please inform the responsible agency for the area, to take action,” Mr Suchart said.
“We can clearly see the names of the boats in this particular video. Officials will have information on the boats already, now it’s just a matter of finding the drivers and prosecute them according to law,” he added.