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DMCR Phuket searching for dive boat for damaging corals

DMCR Phuket searching for dive boat for damaging corals

PHUKET: The Phuket office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) says it is trying to track down at least one dive boat wanted for using ropes tied around coral heads as mooring lines off Koh Racha Yai, south of Phuket.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 17 September 2019, 12:50PM

DMCR Phuket office Director Watcharin Na Thalang told The Phuket News that the alarm was raised by photos and a video of a dive boat using one of the mooring lines at Khon Khae Bay, on the west side of the island, being posted online on Sunday (Sept 15).

The video showed one rope around a coral head damaging the corals.

Several coral heads measuring metres across in the bay have mooring lines tied around them, damaging the corals, Mr Watcharin said.

“We filed complaint at Chalong Police Station at 5:30pm yesterday (Sept 16),” Mr Watcharin confirmed.

The complaint was filed for breach of Section 16 (3) of the National Park Act, which stipulates, "No person shall take out animals or do by any means whatsoever things endangering the animals", Mr Watcharin confirmed.

However, while Section 24 of the same act stipulates that breach of Section 16(3) incurs a penalty of up to five years in jail, it also allow s for only a fine of up to B20,000, or both.

Mr Watcharin said that at this stage he has no idea if the dive boat featured in the photos was based in Phuket.

“I have no clue right now. Chalong Police are now involved in finding this boat and the company that operates it. If we find this boat and identify the company, we will prosecute in accordance with the law,” he said.

Mr Watcharin urged any persons who believe they can identify the boat or its operating company to call the DMCR Phuket office at 076-393566 or contact them through their Facebook page. (Click here.)

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