The crewmen ashore from the 50,000-tonne “Thor Fortune” at the Wisit Panwa pier in Wichit yesterday (June 10).
Present to oversee the screening of the crewmen coming ashore were Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command.
Joining him were Anaphat Korwanit, Chief of the Phuket Sea Port Health Control Office, and Phuket Marine Office Chief Wiwat Chitchertwong.
Chief Anaphat confirmed that none of the crewmen had body temperatures higher than 37.5°C or any signs of respiratory disease.
The crewmen were taken to the Grand Supicha City Hotel in Phuket Town to observe a 14-day quarantine.
Navy personnel have been assigned to watch over the men, V/Adm Cherngchai said.
Phiphob Phuraya, captain of the Thor Fortune, explained that the crewmen were disembarking in Phuket as a regular change of crew.
The Thor Fortune is carrying 49,600 tonnes of wheat from Singapore to Yemen, where it is scheduled to arrive in 13 days.
The ship has 23 crewmen on board, Capt Phiphob, also a Thai national, explained.
“The company [that owns the ship] instructed me to change some crews, as everyone has been on the ship for around six months so far. We informed Phuket officials and received a very good response,” he said.
“We would like to say thank you to all the officers involved for allowing our crewmen to go back home, especially as it is quite hard to enter a country now,” he added.
Chief Anaphat explained that 30 crewmen have come ashore to Phuket since June 1, and that about 10 more cargo ships have informed his office of their intent to enter Phuket waters.
“Around 80 more crewmen will also be coming ashore soon. In total, we have been informed of 114 crewmen wanting to come ashore to Phuket as a regular change of crew, with 116 crewmen boarding ships from here,” he said.
Chief Wiwat explained that Phuket ports were currently open only to local boats operating in the area.
“For now, we have not opened to allow any tour cruises as the number of people infected with COVID-19 in foreign countries is still high,” he said.
“Only cargo ships are coming to Phuket [from international waters] so far, and we have a restriction in effect that allows only Thai crewmen to disembark. Those crewmen must be screened before coming ashore,” he said.