Gen Viddhavat explained that his inspection of the technology now deployed at the pier was empowered under Section 32 of the Ombudsman Act, which includes such matters as solving systemic problems concerning water safety.
Gen Viddhavat explained that the Phoenix tour boat disaster in 2018 “brought a significant loss of lives and affected the overall economy and the tourism image of Thailand”. The sinking of Phoenix in total killed 46 Chinese tourists.
Since then, he has received facts and problems from various parts of the province from visiting the area and will continuously make solutions to develop the system, Gen Viddhavat noted.
“The first move [in deploying the ‘Smart Pier’ technology] is accelerating piloting the areas in Phuket and Koh Pha-ngan in Surat Thani since they are among the top marine tourist destinations in Thailand, [usually] serving millions of tourists per year,” Gen Viddhavat said.
“At this time, Ao Por Pier has been developed using the marine passenger registration system (Flowlow) by allowing tour operators or ship owners to register passengers, crew or captain through a filling box to record their ID card and passport before the ship departure,” he explained.
“A face recognition system is used to verify the identity of an automatic gate exit at the boarding point with an automatic temperature measurement system connected to the wristband embedded with a QR code used for registration for passengers.
The wristband also has body measures for temperature and heartbeat to detect a person on any foreign cruise coming to Thailand,” Gen Viddhavat said.
Previously, the Ombudsman made recommendations to relevant agencies to speed up the process, Gen Viddhavat explained.
The agency also pushed local agencies that have roles and missions in security and coordinate information about materials, equipment, personnel, and knowledge in order to help the victims more effectively, he added.
Gen Viddhavat also expressed his appreciation for all sectors that have worked hard for the Ao Por Pier “to be a modern and reliable management system”.
“Now we have started adopting Thailand’s first electric tour boat and will expand more boats in the future to reduce carbon emissions,” Gen Viddhavat noted.
“When the country opens after the COVID-19 situation has eased, if these technologies and innovations can be used as a model for the development of identity verification systems in the maritime tourist areas nationwide, it will be able to support tourists effectively and raise the promotion of water safety measures as international standards,” he said.
“It will also build confidence among both Thai and foreign tourists to certainly stimulate the economy of marine tourism,” Gen Viddhavat concluded.