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French charter captain stirs maelstrom at Phuket dive site

PHUKET: A French charter boat captain has landed in hot water after dropping anchor at a popular dive site south of Phuket, nearly striking a submerged scuba diver on the head with the anchor in the process.

tourism, marine, accidents,


The Phuket News

Thursday 15 June 2017, 04:45PM


Six divers were at the “standing motorbike” site, in Bay 1 off the east coast of Racha Yai Island, when the anchor came bundling down – the anchor chain hitting one of the dive party on the head in the process.

“It was very lucky that no one was killed in the process,” said one diver in a flurry of comments posted on Facebook after the incident.

“One instructor hit in the head with the chain. Marine police have been informed,” another wrote.

Adding insult to injury, after the anchor dropped it snagged the motorbike and hauled it away along the seabed, effectively removing the dive attraction.

Following up on the report, Olly Wilce, the Base Manager at TUI Marine (The Moorings, Sunsail, Footloose and LeBoat) and Training Manager/Chief Instructor at JAVA Yachting, confirmed the incident was a “mistake”.

“The captain was given a full briefing, it’s not the company’s fault,” Mr Wilce reported yesterday.

British International School, Phuket

“All my customers upon arrival are give a full chart brief on the sailing grounds and told strictly about the no anchoring areas. Racha Yai and Noi being two of them,” Mr Wilce told The Phuket News.

“The motorbike is a diver attraction and they happened to catch it with the anchor when trying to retrieve it (the anchor).

“This is a mistake which has never happened with one of our yachts before. And I assure everyone it will not happen again,” Mr Wilce said.

Mr Wilce’s quick response was well received by Phuket’s dive community.

Meanwhile, it has yet to be reported if the motorbike has been returned to the site, or if another one will be installed to replace it.

 

 

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Pauly44 | 16 June 2017 - 07:01:24

If he says the captain was given a full briefing this leads me to believe it was a bare boat charter, was the dive site marked for no anchoring buoy? If not then that's their problem only local knowledge would help, did the divers deploy alpha diver down flag above them? If not they are partly to blame, many questions unanswered, quick to blame the skipper of the boat, if the boat was Thai registered for commercial purposes and they're leasing them to foreigners without Thai skipper the company might be getting an unwanted knock on the door...

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Asterix | 15 June 2017 - 18:12:42

In ThePhuketNews article it is mentioned that the catamaran had a French Captain at the helm.

So the questions coming to my mind are:

1/- THAI FLAGGED CATAMARAN REGISTERED AS A TRANSPORT BOAT WITH THE HARBOUR DEPARTMENT IN THAILAND
- The catamaran was chartered for a trip around Phuket for one day or several days and only a Thai captain has the right to be captain; so the French Captain is working illegally and he should be prosecuted and perhaps deported from Thailand.
- The Company should be investigated for employing a foreigner as boat Captain which is a job reserved for Thai people only.

2/- THAI FLAGGED CATAMARAN REGISTERED AS A PRIVATE BOAT WITH THE HARBOUR DEPARTMENT IN THAILAND
- The Company should be investigated for doing illegal charter with a private boat as well by employing a foreigner working illegally as that job is reserved for Thai people only.

3/- FOREIGN FLAGGED CATAMARAN
- In that case, that catamaran is working illegally in Thailand and should be seized by Thai Marine Police and the Thai company which has chartered that catamaran should be investigated and the French Captain prosecuted for working illegally in Thailand.
- foreign-flagged vessel have the right to transports customers between two countries under certain conditions but can not do tour charters or boat rental in Thai water.

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Kurt | 15 June 2017 - 18:06:26

How about a new clean colorful motorbike with no kilometers on the teller?
And how about a tuk tuk?
Oh, and a buoy at surface above it, with a 'forbidden drop anchor' sign on it.
Put a 'no parking' sign beside the tuk tuk at sea bottom, than we complete a Phuket scene. Right?
Wow, so much fun in Phuket waters.  :-)

For such a underwater display, ask thai 40 thb, and foreigners 400 thb, complete according thai national park ticketing policies.
Everything in harmony when the waves are not to strong, yes?

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