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Governor lowers boom on Phuket tour boat safety

PHUKET: Officials have been given seven days to ensure that at least passenger manifests on tour boats departing Phuket are accurate and filed with authorities following an order from Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong at a meeting early today (Sept 4).

Tuesday 4 September 2018, 12:45PM


Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat (left) is briefed at the Phuket Marine Office at Chalong Pier on Aug 20, nearly two weeks ago, but since then very little progress has been made in enforcing the new ’Phuket Marine Safety Plan’. Photo: PR Dept / file

Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat (left) is briefed at the Phuket Marine Office at Chalong Pier on Aug 20, nearly two weeks ago, but since then very little progress has been made in enforcing the new ’Phuket Marine Safety Plan’. Photo: PR Dept / file

The move follows 47 Chinese tourists being killed in the Phoenix tour boat disaster on July 5, which spurred a raft of safety provisions and a call by Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat to request a budget of B508 million to roll out the ‘Phuket Marine Safety Plan’. (See story here.)

Governor Norraphat last month confirmed that teams of officials already had been dedicated to carrying out inspections at 24 busy tour-boat piers on the island.

However, this morning he railed that the safety provisions at the 24 piers were still not being enforced.

Governor Norraphat this morning ordered the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket office (DDPM-Phuket) to “immediately” draft a standard form for officials at piers to use when confirming the exact number and identities of all passengers boarding boats departing Phuket, as well as their seat number and passport number.

“Only after this information has been verified will passengers be allowed to board the boats,” Gov Norraphat said.

“I want these passenger manifest reports started immediately. I give you seven days to make it work… and I want to know the details of the reports, too,” he added.

The Governor also ordered for tour boats to be inspected every three months, but by random inspections.

“These inspections must be conducted randomly, and without warning. Seriously, they must be done with no people being told they are about to be inspected,” he cautioned.

Gov Norraphat also raised the issue of creating a hotline specifically for marine emergencies.

“I am planning to set up an emergency line for people in case of an emergency involving marine transportation,” he said.

However, it was not mentioned what role the other already-existing hotlines will play if a ‘marine emergency hotline’ is established.

The Marine Department itself already lists on its website home page “HOTLINE 1155”, which directs calls to the Tourist Police hotline, and its own “HELPLINE 1111”. Both hotlines are 24 hours.

In addition, the Royal Thai Police already operates its 191 national hotline to receive calls for any emergency, and the DDPM operates its own 24-hour hotline 1784 for any persons in danger in need of assistance.

Governor Norraphat also warned any tour-boat piers not among the 24 currently under supervision to follow the law.

“The Phuket Marine Office must go and inspect them and catch them if they are breaking any laws. These piers also must follow the law,” he said.

Bizarrely, the Governor also warned all from tour boats operating without a radio, as if there are tour boats carrying tourists that are known to be operating without a radio on board.

“Officials from the Phuket Marine office will go to see them and tell them to set up radio,” was the sternest message he had for such a distressing transgression of marine safety requirements.

 

 

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Capt B | 09 September 2018 - 23:00:28

And make sure all these so called "Captains" have Marine Radio Operator's Certificates  which means 3 days of study & an exam where all the emergency frequencies both VHF , MF & HF should be remembered. As random checks are planned I suggest tests are also carried out for methamphetamine abuse as it is rampant in Phuket & one of Thailand's biggest problems. 

BenPendejo | 06 September 2018 - 10:11:32

And no...there was no boom lowered by the govn'r...just another "you all go do something" order that obviously falls on deaf ears.  The govn'r doesn't lower any booms, and nothing substantive has been done to improve tourists safety.

SueYu2 | 05 September 2018 - 14:46:54

Every registered tour boat needs to undergo regular inspections. This should be the Governor's number one priority.
Identification is important but the need is to stop the accidents. A strong qualification staff requirement is also a necessity.

Pauly44 | 05 September 2018 - 13:11:16

Difficult to imagine a more incompetent society. 

Rorri_2 | 05 September 2018 - 12:01:55

Knowing who is on a boat seems more important than the safety of those same people.

BenPendejo | 04 September 2018 - 18:57:40

The only thing Thailand has done in response to the Phoenix disaster is mount and tacky and tasteless public relations campaign.  The only people fooled by this absurd dog and pony show is the Thai officials themselves. The end result, this place remains as dangerous as ever.

Nasa12 | 04 September 2018 - 17:21:49

Well well it’s still only bla bla bla bla from this cor.... peopel. 

Kurt | 04 September 2018 - 13:36:22

What a Phuket tourist Marine safety mess. Since Aug 20th hardly something operational in enforcing the new Marine Safety Plan! Anyone surprised? We know that it is all for 'patient thai paper' only, nothing more. And on Phuket 4.0 are still tour boats allowed to operate without radio/vhf? Yes, bizar. Under which stone are the Phuket marine Authorities living?
'Ordering' is not com...

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