The Navy’s Orbiter 3B UAV drone was conducting search operations off Phuket’s east coast and along the Krabi coast when one fishing boat believed to be acting suspiciously was spotted near Koh Yao Noi islands at 10am, said the report by the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, based on Phuket’s Cape Panwa.
The HMS Sriracha was dispatched to intercept the boat, which was found some five nautical miles east of Koh Yao Yai at 10:15am, said the report.
An inspection of the boat, the ‘S. Petch Samut 1’, found that it had been modified and was not a fishing vessel as registered. Instead it was carrying about 1,000 litres of green-coloured diesel in the bow and another 400 litres in the boat’s own fuel tank, the report added.
According to the report, the boat’s captain, Eakkaluk Anbut, said that the diesel was to be distributed to two fishing boats and their mother ship: the ‘Petch Samut 11’, the ‘Petch Samut 9’ and the ‘Petch Samut 99’.
Eakkaluk has been charged with using a fishing boat for a purpose other than its registered use, said the report.
The Phuket Provincial Excise Office, Phuket Marine Police and Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office have been called in to inspect the boat to carry out their own legal action, the report added.