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Frenchman faces hefty fines for dropping anchor on protected corals

Frenchman faces hefty fines for dropping anchor on protected corals

PHUKET: A 67-year-old Frenchman is facing serious fines for dropping anchor on protected corals off Koh Racha Yai, south of Phuket.

marinetourismenvironmentnatural-resources
By Khunanya Wanchanwet

Thursday 12 March 2020, 11:26AM


Somnuek Boonyai, Chief of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Region 6 office’s Preservation of Marine Life Section, told The Phuket News that he was notified by a member of Marine Rangers (see here) last Friday (Mar 6) that a yacht named “Cotinga” had dropped anchor anchor in a protected coral area, causing damage to corals.

DMCR officers filed a complaint with the Chalong Police and contacted Dream Yacht Charter (Thailand) Co Ltd, which had chartered the yacht out to Jean Girard, 67, from France.

Mr Girard confirmed that he had rented the yacht on that day to have a trip with his family, Mr Somnuek said.

Mr Girard was taken to Chalong Police Station last Sunday (Mar 8) and faces two charges, Mr Somnuek confirmed.

One charge is to breach of a regulation introduced by the DMCR under Section 17 of the Act on the Promotion of Marine and Coastal Resources Management B.E. 2558 (2015), which can incur a penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to B100,000, or both.

 

The second charge is for breach of Section 12 of the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act 2019, which can incur a penalty of up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to B1 million, or both.

 

Thanyapura Health 360

Asked how much Mr Girard will be fined, Mr Somnuek explained yesterday (Mar 11), “At this stage, police have not yet fined him as they are still waiting for a report confirming how much damage was done to the corals.”

Mr Somnuek confirmed that the yacht charter company will not face any charges.

The protected area where the corals were damaged are located at Patok Bay, the northwest side of Racha Yai Island, Mr Somnuek explained.

“The reef there is a designated protected area. Boats are allowed to pass through the area, but not allowed to drop anchor there,” he said.

There is a sign on the beach to explain about the protected coral area, but there are no buoys on the water to indicate where the protected zone is, Mr Somnuek confirmed.

Asked whether the area will be marked on the water as a protected zone, Mr Somnuek said, “Having signs out there is not sustainable, they can be damaged easily by the wind and waves. However, I will find a good solution later.”

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub

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GerryT81 | 14 March 2020 - 10:42:34

K,what  has your drivel about double pricing,car dash cam  got to do with this article ? Can't you for once stick to the subject ? Corals destroyed/damaged by a reckless French captain.

Kurt | 14 March 2020 - 08:09:17

It would be nice when PN interviews mr Girard a few weeks from now to learn how mr Girard was treated and what RTP procedure he had to go through. It is time daylights sees how thai and foreign boat drivers are treated different for the same matters.

DeKaaskopp | 13 March 2020 - 23:17:25

@K. How do you know the Yacht charter company-which by the way is a worldwide operating company-didn't provide all the necessary sea charts ? Are you looking to blame Thai people here again for what was clearly the fault of the skipper? 
 Probably you would blame a local car rent service too,if the renter  would damage public property !You really have a problem.

Kurt | 13 March 2020 - 19:34:47

Khun Somnuek did manoevre elegant around the thai yacht charter company. No charges. Why not? Well, it is a thai firm, right? Has the yacht charter firm not the obligation by law to inform the renter about coral locations, clearly marked in the sea charts on board?

Kurt | 13 March 2020 - 11:05:37

Timothy, Thailand has a bruised & faltering justice system. Rule by law, instead the 'rule of law'. Poor illogical enforcement of Laws. Unequal Justice under the thai law. Thai 'Hi-so' are law-free ( misunderstandings), poor thai experience the full force of the 'law', and foreigners experience dual/triple law pricing. That is how it is. Have a dash cam in your car.

Timothy | 13 March 2020 - 09:32:37

We have read many other articles on boats dropping anchor on corals. Some even had video evidence along with very clear pictures of the boats involved. Of course those were Thai tour boats so no mention of 10 years in jail or a million baht fine. The Thai boat "captains" can pretty much do whatever they like and get away with it. Even killing a few farang passengers from time to time. 

HubertK | 13 March 2020 - 09:20:12

Whoever damages corals and get caught should pay a fine.Thai or foreigner.I read here the usual rant from someone who feels always persecuted as a foreigner.He doesn't even condemns the damage done to the corals.What a pitiful person.

Wiesel | 13 March 2020 - 01:35:41

What the f... is the different between destroy living corals in a protected or unprotected zone??? everybody who do like that have to be fined. Water in this aerea is clear and skipper can see them easy.

Fascinated | 12 March 2020 - 19:39:20

A very telling final sentence Insp K- I share the feeling.

HubertK | 12 March 2020 - 17:40:52

Whoever damages corals and get caught should pay a fine.Thai or foreigner ! Mr.Kurt's comment is complete nonsense.His usual rant about feeling persecuted because of being a foreigner.He doesn't even condemns the damage done to the corals. What a pitiful person.

GerryT81 | 12 March 2020 - 16:40:43

"Give me a bucket,I need to vomit" Kurt,I thought exactly the same when reading your comment !

Jor12 | 12 March 2020 - 16:23:39

Have you players with rubber duckies in the bath ever heard of navigation charts?  The idiot will have been an experienced sailor to chart a yacht so it's his own stupid fault.

Kurt | 12 March 2020 - 12:50:25

...it looks more like trapping a foreigner because he is not thai. Thai, protect your corals in a sufficient way. Inform foreign sailors in advance with buoy system and sea chart info. No chance Thai can prosecute this foreigner in a legal way.  Well, only through some thai money making way, of course. Give me a bucket, I need to vomit.

Kurt | 12 March 2020 - 12:43:25

Signs at beaches about not dropping anchor are not very helpful, actually very funny.. Who thai official think that is a proper way to protect coral areas? Why no buoys to indicate this protected area? May I have the impression that the 'full force of the law' is here because it is a foreigner? If no signs in sea charts, or by buoys it is hard to see the legitimacy of pressing charges. It ...

Rorri_2 | 12 March 2020 - 11:38:56

Have to have damn good eyes to see a sign, on the beach. Question, how is a yachtman know that it is a protected area, especially one that just hired the boat.

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