Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) Acting Chief Watcharin Patomwatthanapong, Maj Eakkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police and Sakorn Pudam of the Marine Department’s Region 5 office, which is based in Phuket also responsible for the Andaman provinces of Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun, joined the exercise.
Rassada Pier, located on the east side of Phuket Town, is a major departure point for tourists heading out to the popular islands in Phang Nga Bay and along the Andaman coast.
“I ordered the officers responsible for the operation of all commercial piers in Phuket to seriously enforce safety in their areas of responsibility,” Governor Norraphat said.
“Officials must check in and check out all passengers and boats as they arrive and depart from the piers. All CCTV systems and passenger data-collecting information systems being developed by the Phuket Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) must be ready in time.
“This is especially so as I believe that more than 300-350 tourists will be travelling on 17-18 boats each day (during the Songkran holidays). The security priority is safety,” Gov Norraphat said.
“The safety of tourists during the Songkran festival will see many Chinese tourists using this pier. All structures and buildings must be strong enough,” Governor Norraphat added.
The call for heightened marine safety came just hours after a dive tour boat caught fire and sank en route from Koh Lipe to Phi Phi Island. Another dive tour boat in the area, about 22 kilometres south of Phi Phi Island, safely recovered all 29 tourists and the seven crewmen on board and brought them ashore at the Asia Marine Pier in Rassada at 5am yesterday. (See story here.)