Twenty-two of those vessels are currently under investigation by police, Adm Panlop said.
Adm Panlop visited the PIPO centre in Rassada to follow up on the government’s efforts to eradicate IUU fishing and human trafficking in the fishing industry.
Joining Adm Panlop in his tour of the centre were Royal Thai Navy Third Area Rear Commander Adm Sayan Prasongsomrit and PIPO Chief Capt Pidet Buthsood.
“Having the PIPO centre has proved essential and the officers here are doing a great job,” Adm Panlop said.
Since the centre opened on May 6, 2015 through to February 15, 2016, the centre recorded a total of 4,339 migrant workers, he added.
“These migrants are Thais, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodians, among others,” Adm Panlop said. “PIPO officials recorded a total of 2,996 Myanmar workers, which comprise 69.43% of all migrant workers known to be working in Phuket’s fishing fleet,” Adm Panlop said.
“I also was told that from July 2015 to February15, 2016, officials conducted 9,384 inspections of boats weighing 30 gross tonnes or more arriving at the pier and 9,163 inspections of such boats departing the pier,” he added.
However, Adm Panlop did not comment on the difference in the number of inspections carried out of large fishing boats arriving and leaving Phuket, which allowed for 221 instances the such boats either not departing Phuket – or leaving without reporting to the PIPO.
The official visit yesterday followed a handful of raids carried out by the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Area Command, which is based in Phuket, that netted several fishing boats off Phuket .for suspected IUU fishing.
On January 16, officials seized a boat fishing between Koh Lon and Koh Hae (See story here.)
The raid was soon followed by the seizure of two Thai tuna vessels in violation of IUU fishing regulations about 75 nautical miles west of Phuket on January 30. (See story here.)
Two more Thai tuna vessels were apprehended for IUU fishing violations in international waters west of Phuket last Sunday (Feb 14). (See story here.)