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Popular Phi Phi reef area where karst collapsed sealed off for two years

Popular Phi Phi reef area where karst collapsed sealed off for two years

PHUKET: The area around where a large section of a karst in Phang Nga Bay collapsed, sending some 30,000 tonnes of rock onto a popular coral reef below, will remain sealed off for safety for at least two years, Chief of the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Prayoon Phongphan, told The Phuket News today (Oct 28).

natural-resourcesmarineenvironment
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 28 October 2020, 11:11AM


The section of the karst – officially called Koh Mae Urai, located two kilometers southwest of Koh Poda, between Phi Phi Island and the Krabi mainland (see map below) – collapsed into the sea last sometime during the night of Oct 15.

Park officers noticed that two large sections of the island had splintered off and fallen into the sea while conducting a routine patrol the next day.

Officers from the national park and geologists from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) inspected the area yesterday (Oct 27), Chief Prayoon said.

“The area where the island collapsed will be sealed off for two years for the safety of local fishermen and tourists. It is possible that more of the island will break off,” he explained.

“Officials have already installed buoys and red flags to make sure no one enters the area. Park officers will also regularly patrol the area,” he added.

The fallen sections of the island area are each about 50 metres across and about 70m wide, and rest on the bottom of the bay up to 20m deep, he said.

“The officers dived at the site to inspect the damage to the coral reef. They found about 300 square metres of the reef has been damaged by smaller sections of rock falling into the sea,” Chief Prayoon explained.

Many different types of corals have suffered damage, he added.

“These include staghorn corals, big star corals, ring corals, floral corals and brain corals, among others,” Chief Prayoon noted.

A project will be launched to help the reef recover, he added.

The project will start late next week, Chief Prayoon said.

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