The news was handed down by Col Kitisat Noopeung of the Phuket Provincial Police Scientific Crime Detection Division and Thalang Police Chief Col Theerawat at a meeting held at Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 8) to review the initial details of the investigation.
Investigation officers has asked the Philippines-born Myanmar national Sit Ong Somit, who was responsible for taking care of the yacht when the fire broke, to point out where the fire started, and other areas on the yacht, Col Theerawat said.
“From initial investigation, the fire started from the living room where a television plug was plugged in,” Col Theerawat explained.
However, it was not clarified whether Sit Ong Somit was actually on the yacht when the fire started, or why a small electrical fire was not immediately extinguished.
The ensuing fire gutted nearly the entire boat, including two small boats with engines (believed to be the superyachts tenders) as well as a jet-ski, and the onboard gym room, said Chatchet Thongruek, Ship Inspection Officer at the Phuket Marine Office.
However, he added, “After inspecting the damage, we found that the hull is still usable. But the equipment inside the boat must be replaced completely.”
The value of the superyacht itself and the property inside was valued in total at about B280 million, Mr Chatchet added.
The Phuket Marine Office has transferred the 100,000 litres of fuel that was onboard the yacht for safety reasons, Mr Chatchet confirmed.
R/Adm Withonrat Kotchasenee, Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, who had personnel assist in the firefighting efforts throughout Wednesday night, said that a “curtain” had been placed around the yacht to prevent oil leaks from causing any environmental damage.
The yacht now remains off Koh Thanan, off Phuket’s east coast, while the investigation continues.
The Lady D has used Phuket as a base for years, Mr Chatchet also told the meeting.
“The boat always follows port procedures. The boat is moved out of Thailand every six months and returns to the same place. Before it was moored at the marina (for its current stay), the yacht had just traveled back from Langkawi in Malaysia. The yacht owner comes to Thailand every six months,” Mr Chatchet said.
“This fire incident has become a great lesson for us because we have been shown our weaknesses in terms of equipment and human resources,” Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai told the meeting.
“The Phuket Government must say thank you for the cooperation from many officials who helped in responding to this incident,” he said.
“Officers are still investigating the cause of the fire. This investigation is continuing. Next Tuesday, we will discuss more about what we have learned from this case,” V/Gov Supoj said.