The port has been closed for two weeks following an outbreak of COVID-19 infections among fishing crews who had come ashore during a period of bad weather preventing them from going to sea.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew inspected the cleaning efforts at the port yesterday afternoon, joined by Phuket Fishery Association President Somyot Wongboonyakul.
“Phuket has 17 fishing piers registered to the Department of Fisheries. Only 10 of the piers are used for bringing fish ashore, the rest are used for mooring,” Governor Narong said.
“About 100,000 tonnes of seafood are brought ashore through the piers each year,” he noted.
The annual yield of seafood produce brought ashore through Phuket’s fishing piers was valued at about B4.5 billion, Governor Narong added.
However, Governor Narong gave no estimate of the economic impact of the main fishing port on the island shutting down for two weeks.
“We have 352 fishing boats with 3,159 people working on the boats. Among the workers, 1,428 are Thais, and 1,731 are from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. We also have about 400 people working on the piers,” he said.
“After officers and staff from the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) came to conduct proactive screening and found many workers infected with no symptoms, we set up a storehouse as a community isolation venue which is filled with 150 beds. Right now, we have 120 workers staying at the venue,” Governor Narong said.
“Meanwhile, we also have a total of 178 workers staying on 18 boats as ‘vessel isolation’ offshore near Koh Tapao Noi. There are 36 workers infected on five boats. The remaining workers are still healthy but volunteer to stay offshore on the boats,” he added.
Mr Somyot explained that the 14-day closure at the pier had affected fishermen and fish vendors, but also gave no estimate of the economic impact of the shutdown.
“The pier will reopen on Friday [Sept 3], but the situation on the pier may be back to normal about Sept 6,” Mr Somyot said.