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Marine Dept launches Facebook complaints portal, as dangerous Phuket speedboat complaint left floundering

PHUKET: The Marine Department of Thailand today (Jan 7) launched a Facebook page for people to file complaints about marine tour services, and especially marine safety.

By The Phuket News

Monday 7 January 2019, 07:46PM

The launch of the webpage, called “Notification of Complaints to the Marine Department” (click here), aims to allow people to file complaints instantly, with photos, Phuket Marine Office Acting Director Wiwat Chitchertwong explained to The Phuket News.

“It will be easier for foreign tourists and other people to inform us about bad marine services or unreliable services in Phuket,” Mr Wiwat said.

“Also tourists can change the language from Thai to English with a single click (using the built-in Facebook translation service).

“After that the Marine Department (head office in Bangkok) will record the complaint and send the information to us. Then we will go to work on the complaint, and depending on the we will warn or charge the boat operator or even revoke their license.

“We can even force them to undergo training after they have been handed down punishment or a warning,” he said.

Mr Wiwat noted that people can still file complaints through the Marine Department’s existing complaints web portal, which launched five years ago. (Click here.)

“But Facebook allows people to file complaints in English, and there is even a QR Code that people can scan to access it,” he said.

Alternatively, Thai speakers can still file complaints by calling the free hotline 1199, he added.

However, the launch of the Marine Department’s Facebook complaints page today comes while a serious complaint filed in English through the formal website about a tour speedboat allegedly nearly running over a snorkeller off Phuket remains not even being passed to the Phuket Marine Office after after 11 days.

The complaint, filed on Dec 27 and addressed “To Phuket Harbourmaster”, reports alleged reckless driving by a speedboat operator off Koh Mai Thon, located just over eight kilometres from the tip of Cape Panwa.

“A speedboat of a tour operator [...] almost ran over a snorkeller at Koh Maithon. Me and my friends just happened to be at anchor at this bay and the incident unfolded right in front of us, the speedboat was flying into the bay at full speed to show off to the tourists onboard and only our frantic screaming at them made it stop at the last second, the swimming man luckily emerged unharmed from under their bow!!” reported the complaint.

“This was the most reckless driving we have ever seen with an absolute disregard to safety and our hands are still shaking from witnessing this incident.

“Two boats of this tour operator arrived to the bay, the logo of the operator is shown on the pic2 but the boat that nearly caused a fatal accident went hiding behind the rocks right after the incident and I could take only one photo (pic3) at a distance - it was sitting between two rocks.

“Same logo on the freeboard, red roof. I am sure the driver can be identified easily when your authority contacts the business owner.

“We would like to report this incident to Phuket Harbourmaster and the relevant authority and also bring awareness to the surrounding - a lot of incidents including fatalities on water in Thailand are due to the tour operators’ reckless and ignorant behaviour towards people and the environment.” (See complaint here.)

Mr Wiwat today confirmed to The Phuket News that he had taken no action so far about the complaint as he was unaware of the incident.

“I have not yet received any notification of this complaint. I am waiting for the Marine Department to send this information,” he said.

Mr Wiwat also offered no explanation as to whether the new Facebook page will improve how complaints are handled, and why.

Yet Mr Wiwat did claim that he had no authority to take any action on any complaints posted without first receiving a formal notice from Bangkok.



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Rorri_2 | 11 January 2019 - 05:00:46

Oh course non Thai tourists will know about this web site, I guess there will be multilingual signs around the "problem" areas notifying tourists about said site, and of course we know how "prompt" action will take... well after the "complaining," "pesky" tourist has left, and therefore no witness, so no further action, we have seen this time after time.

Kurt | 09 January 2019 - 11:25:58

Here we have it: Something happens out there visible from mr Wiwat's office. Now he waits that someone complains to 'Bangkok'. Than he waits until 'Bangkok'  informs him about what he knows already and wait for orders. What a lovely 'waiting' job. Thailand 4.0? A long way to go with all these waiting mode people.

Kurt | 09 January 2019 - 10:47:23

Free Marine Dept hotline 1199, for thai language only!
Why on earth  has a Marine Department not  english language speaking staff on hotline 1199? Incoming complains will be mostly from non-thai people anyway. Why always that thai barrier-curtain to dis courage/make it difficult to people to complain? Not service minded/tourist friendly at all.

CaptainJack69 | 08 January 2019 - 14:24:45

"Acting director of Phuket Marine Office" is waiting for "Marine Department" to send information of the complaint. You couldn't make this stuff up. What exactly IS this guys job?

Kurt | 08 January 2019 - 12:40:37

I hope it works, really. But taxi complains, (call 1584) doesn't work. They only speak thai (on Phuket!). Hope this boat thing is language wise a upgraded idea. Tourists don't speak thai.  In most countries boats like this have a large registration number on both sides of the hull. Start with that. And after complains, check skills boatman. Easy! And, stop to be 'unaware' of things...

alf | 08 January 2019 - 07:59:38

Use of such a website to report alleged wrong behavior about some marine or tourism service, can be seen as defamation under the Computer Act.
You have to think twice before using this service.

Shwe | 08 January 2019 - 04:42:09

More useless BS, complain all you want, these idiots will do nothing  

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