Sontaya Prapaisub of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Phuket office, filed an official record of the damage being done at Thalang Police Station on Monday (Aug 19).
“We were worried about coral reefs around there, so we inspected the area and found that the middle and front of yacht are on the sand, but the bottom of the yacht is on a coral reef,” Mr Sontaya explained to The Phuket News today (Aug 21).
“About 20 square metres of corals have been damaged by the yacht,” he said.
The formal record of the incident was filed with Lt Col Wutthichai Kaewthong of Thalang Police Station at 3:40pm on Monday (Aug 19), Mr Sontaya confirmed.
Mr Sontaya admitted that his officers had yet to confirm who to pursue for any damage to the reef.
“We have to wait for the yacht to be salvaged first, then we can take a look at the damage to the corals and proceed according to the law,” he said.
Mr Sontaya pointed out that damage done would be subject to Section 16 of the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, BE 2535 (1992), which incurs a penalty of up to four years in jail or a fine of up to B40,000, or both.
“The penalty handed down is up to the judge,” Mr Sontaya said.
However, Section 26 of the same act exempts any persons from being held accountable for harm done to wildlife if the harm occurs while carrying out orders from a government official.
Lady D was moved to off Koh Thanan as a safety precaution after the superyacht caught ablaze at Ao Po Grand Marina on Aug 8. (See story here.)
A source at the marina confirmed today that the salvage team is still working on floating the boat as it now is sitting on the shallow seabed off Koh Thanan.
Lady D has a draught of about 4.5 metres, but how the boat came to be grounded with its hull still intact has yet to be explained.