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Police dismiss insurance arson as motive for Phuket tour speedboat blaze

PHUKET: Police have ruled out arson in order to claim insurance payouts for the fire the engulfed six Phuket tour speedboats in Chalong last month.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 10 May 2016, 06:57PM

The fire destroyed five tour speedboats and left one more badly damaged. Photo: Amnoy Supawatkan

The fire destroyed five tour speedboats and left one more badly damaged. Photo: Amnoy Supawatkan

The fire, which broke out before 3am on April 19, caused an estimated B25 million in damage to six speedboats belonging to Nikorn Marine Tours. (See story here.)

“We do not think that the boats were set on fire intentionally, but we will wait for forensic police to conclude their findings,” Capt Wuthiwat Liangboonjinda of the Chalong Police told The Phuket News today (May10)

“The boats have no insurance, so setting them on fire to get insurance money is out of the question,” he added.

Capt Wuthiwat confirmed his officers were investigating a fuel drum found on board one of the scorched speedboats.

“One of the boats did have a fuel drum on board when it caught fire, but the owner said all his boats had one. Hopefully, forensic police will be able to tell us whether it had fuel in it or if it was the source of the explosion that people heard,” he said.

“The guard, Donsafad Pormin, 55, admitted that he used a Zipo lighter to light a cigarette in the boat at one time, but he did not clarify whether this was how the fire started,” Capt Wuthiwat added.

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“We are still looking into this,” he said.

Pisit Paphakityosapat of Nikorn Marine Tours has called for police to speed up their investigation because he believes the fire was intentionally started. (See story here.)

Mr Pisit, who also currently serves as Deputy Mayor of Rawai, told The Phuket News today, “I am not sure what is taking police so long to conclude their findings. All evidence, including CCTV footage in the area, has been handed to them.

“Most our boats have fuel drums and that did not cause the explosion, I believe it was something else,” he added.

“And I don’t understand why the guard lighting a cigarette would be the centre of this investigation. Those guys smoke all the time when they walk past the area, and we’ve never had a problem.” Mr Pisit said.



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Kurt | 14 May 2016 - 09:38:53

Ocean going tanker ships have a inert gas system on board.
A full loaded crude/oil tanker is not dangerous when we talk about explosion risks ( google: inert gas system on ships).
A half- or complete empty oil tanker ship however develops a explosive tank atmosphere without the use of inert gas system.
On the photo I see a fuel drum standing in de middle of the boat.
Perhaps the fuel drum was ...

The pilot | 11 May 2016 - 11:42:32

What the police and Mr Pisit should do is to ensure a safe fuel handling and not allow refueling on the beach from fuel drums. It is neither safe nor good for the environment. This may not have started the fire this time but is bound to happen. With all the mini buses that support this business turning the street into one-way you can imagine what will happen if a fire that includes exploding fuel ...

Nasa12 | 11 May 2016 - 10:48:16

So NO insurance what about Tourist if accident ?

Belzybob | 10 May 2016 - 19:46:19

This sounds like an excellent idea, instead of guessing:  "but we will wait for forensic police to conclude their findings"

Assuming there wasn't lightning around at the time, which I believe was not the case, it is likely that something of a human nature started the fire.

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