Monday, September 16, 2019

Tourist speedboat collision blamed on recklessness

Jan 17. 2018
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By Salinee Prap
The Nation

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Phuket Governor Norapat Plodthong on Wednesday said the collision of two speedboats the previous day offshore Phuket stemmed from recklessness and urged the Marine Department to enforce laws and regulations strictly as to prevent similar incidents.

Meanwhile, the drivers of both speedboats were under investigation for charges of recklessness causing injury. 

Police inspecting the scene at the Royal Phuket Marina and Boat Lagoon Pier on Wednesday morning said they would need three to four days to investigate the cause of the collision, while officials from the Marine Department’s Phuket Office would check both vessels’ licences.

Officials will also determine if the boats will be seaworthy after repairs.

According to a report by the Phuket Gazette, the accident at the Ao Sapam Channel leading to the Boat Lagoon Pier occurred at about 4.30pm, resulting in eight people being injured, including several Italian tourists. 

The tourists, who had travelled to Phuket with the Costa Cruise Victoria anchored in front of Patong Beach, were in a speedboat named Satakamol 333 along with other passengers driven by 49-year-old Anucha Ngankaeng. 

As it was heading towards the marina pier, it was hit by another boat named Pimracha 5, driven by 22-year-old Aran Chouykankla, who was onboard with two other crewmembers. 

The left side of Satakamol 333 was severely damaged and the boat foundered although its engine was left intact, while Pimracha 5 only suffered scratches.

Norapat said he had instructed relevant agencies to ensure that the condition of boats is checked as well as drivers’ licences and identities before departures. Lists of passengers’ names and nationalities must be also recorded so authorities could provide assistance in case of emergency. 

As Phuket’s public piers cannot service the total demand for transport, many private piers have begun operating and have been urged to cooperate in implementing safety measures, including installing CCTV cameras and coordinating with piers boats are destined for, he said. 

Authorities would conduct a safety check and review all measures again before the Chinese New Year holidays in February, he added.

The speedboat collision took place just two days after another speedboat named King Poseidon 959 exploded on Sunday while heading from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi, resulting in 16 injuries. 

That case saw the boat captain and a crewmember being charged with recklessness causing injury.

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