Phuket, 17 July, 2018 – Thai authorities have announced an action plan to improve safety standards and confidence in Thailand as a safe tourist destination at a joint press conference held this morning at the Phuket Yacht Control Centre at Chalong Pier.
At the event, Mr. Norraphat Plodthong, Phuket Provincial Governor, was joined by Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand; Vice Admiral Somnuk Preampramot, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area Command; Mr. Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Director of Marine Office Region 3, and Mr. Pracha Asawateera, District Manager of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.
The action plan to be brought into effect in Phuket and nearby provinces along the Andaman Coast are:
- Set up checkpoints at piers where officials can perform safety checks before tour boats depart including the boat’s maintenance and condition, passenger screening and ensuring that numbers do not exceed the limit, operators’ licenses, conditions of captains and crews in terms of drugs and alcohol, the routings and mandatory GPS devices.
- The Marine Department has reiterated its strict enforcement to ensure that boat operators comply with water safety laws and regulations. The number of passengers should not exceed the limit that each boat can legally carry. All passengers and crew are required to wear life jackets at all times when on the boat. Boat captain must have a relevant license. Staff should be equipped with foreign language skills to adequately communicate with passengers on safety guidelines. If these regulations are violated, or if a vessel is found to be overloaded, licenses will be revoked immediately.
- The Thai Meteorological Department has been instructed to step up its weather warnings, especially for severe weather outlooks; the alerts must be issued every hour.
- The Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area Command has been designated as the lead agency on setting up ‘a joint maritime rescue coordination centre’ at Chalong Pier. The 24/7 centre, to be equipped with three boats and rescue equipment, will be operated in cooperation with all involved agencies including the Thai Customs Department, Department of Fisheries, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and Thai and foreign volunteers.
- Chalong Pier to receive 38 additional CCTV cameras.
- The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) is in the process of launching a mobile application; namely, ‘signature of Phuket’, to provide information on safety standards and guidelines, so tourists in Phuket can enjoy the pristine beaches and emerald sea of the Andaman Sea.
- A wristband tracking system is to be introduce at Ao Po Grand Marina. Tourists can voluntarily buy a 100-Baht wristband and register its QR code plus their personal details onto the system, which can track tourists and boat locations in case of emergency. It also provides an insurance coverage of one million Baht in case of death and 500,000 Baht for medical expenses.