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DSI hunts for nominees in Phuket tour boat inspections

DSI hunts for nominees in Phuket tour boat inspections

PHUKET: Lt Col Charoen Bunsin, Special Investigation Officer at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), joined officers from the Marine Department, Phuket Tourist Police and Department of Tourism conducting a safety inspection at the Asia Marina pier in Rassada yesterday (Nov 28).

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Friday 29 November 2019, 03:26PM

Lt Col Charoen explained that his focus was on tour operators illegally controlled by foreigners.

“From our inspections [yesterday], we did not find any businesses owned by foreigners, but we have to investigate further with relevant officials’ information. We did find some suspicious irregularities and believe that there may be some businesses run by nominees. The DSI will return to investigate these further,” Lt Col Charoen said.

Also joining the inspections was Athiphong Sengsin, Chief of the Tourism Business and Guide Division, Southern Region 2, under the Department of Tourism.

“With Phuket entering its tourism high season, more tourists are coming and the relevant agencies have joined together to conduct checks on tour operators and the use of guides,” he said.

“Using [qualified, registered] tour guides provides a standard of safety for tourists," Mr Athiphong added.

“And we need to prevent the use of illegal tours, and prevent the use of illegal guides, in order for tourists to maintain a good impression of Thailand and to make our tourism sustainable,” he said.

The inspections were being carried out to boost tourists’ confidence to boarding a boat in Phuket over the tourism high season, explained Phuket Marine Chief Wiwat Chitchertwong.

During the inspections, the officials confirmed that boats at the pier, which serves as a major jump-off point for tourists boarding day tours out to the nearby islands, were carrying the required safety equipment, passengers were wearing life jackets, the number of passengers on each boat did not exceed the boat’s registered capacity, and that the captain and the boats were fully licenced and registered.

Mr Wiwat highlighted that the Asia Marina pier was a key port for passengers coming from or going to Phi Phi Island.

On average some 3,000 to 4,000 people per day pass through the main ports in Phuket, namely Chalong Pier, Tha Ruea, Ao Por and Rassada Pier, Mr Wiwat said.

Random inspections were used to ensure boats, crews and tour operators all complied with marine safety requirements, he said.

Maj Ekachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police, who also joined the inspections, pointed out that Tourist Police Commander Lt Gen Chettha Komolwatthana had stressed the importance of safety and security in Phuket during the tourism season.

He also pointed out that an estimated 80% of tourists visiting the island board a boat at some time during their holiday.

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Kurt | 04 December 2019 - 15:18:10

...all that paper safety matters. 
Tour boat safety by looking for nominees. Laugh or cry?

Kurt | 04 December 2019 - 15:16:11

A change in Thailand about powering tourist boats is important. For safety 'sustainability' a change from gasoline to diesel is urgent. For the thai paper tiger officials explained, ... it will be important for tourist marine safety to implement this requirement. Guess they never heard about difference in 'flash point' between gasoline and diesel. It is all so amateuristic, all tha...

Capt B | 04 December 2019 - 11:16:13

All gasoline powered tourist / passenger carrying vessels are deadly. A diesel powered vessel is a safer bet on your holiday which could be your last if you get on the wrong boat. 

Capt B | 04 December 2019 - 10:58:16

@Facinated. If you go to the Thailand BOI website, lists "Advantages", well, maybe they should have a List of "Disadvantages". 1) Fasinated's PN Post below.
After checking because the BOI finally realized that Thai People will never effectively develop my chosen industry, I'm finally on their list. Wow ! The BOI can never guarantee that other Thai Govt Departs will not...

Capt B | 04 December 2019 - 10:26:17

@GJCS. I have been a Commercial Seafarer since 1978. My CV is 64 pages long & only 12 of printed text. The rest are Certificates for which a few require "Refresher Courses" to keep legally in date or as required by the client. Kurt is correct & understandable in his terminology.

GregoryJCS | 01 December 2019 - 09:50:48

@Kurt. Refreshment training sounds more like attending a course for a bar attendant than anything to do with tour guiding safety.

Kurt | 30 November 2019 - 09:55:43

Would be nice to learn what are the 'standard of safety for tourists training' of registered tour guides. What training they get, and how often are there refreshment training times? Is there during these training attention for noticing motionless floating tourist snorkelers while sitting in shadow under a island beach tree ?

Kurt | 29 November 2019 - 18:34:56

Foreign shareholders may be illegal in certain settings. However, paper shareholders are not the sailing danger for these tourists while sailing. That is the thai boat condition and the thai crew.  ( Phoenix)

Kurt | 29 November 2019 - 18:32:11

Great Initiatives. But now,.... when will the public be informed about the final outcome of the thai Phoenix  boat Disaster? Such is needed to learn what went wrong along the line. The Phoenix boat crew was totally thai, right? Don't skip steps/info, please. Specially when we read that 80% of tourists board a thai boat sometimes. There are no foreign boats for tours.

Fascinated | 29 November 2019 - 15:59:06

How about illegal tour companies run by Thais? Of course there are only naughty foreigners, not naughty Thais. Its a very xenophobic country at present.

Christy Sweet | 29 November 2019 - 15:51:39

Do nominees have Ns tattooed on their foreheads or some other identifying feature? Seems to me such investigations would be more fruitful conducted at the DBD offices where all the registry paperwork can be viewed.

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