Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, the immigration police commissioner, said in Phuket today (Dec 17) that crime detection police and specialists from China and Germany examined the vessel after it was salvaged.
“Chinese and German specialists agree that the boat was substandard… It was not built at a shipyard but at a machine shop. Police have laid down charges during the interrogation process. Phuket marine officials were prosecuted for dereliction of duty,” he said.
Gen Surachate said the boat should have had four watertight doors, but it had only one. Its glass windowpanes should have been of marine grade – breakable with a fist – but they were not.
"Many people died inside the boat because they were unable to break through its glass panes," the immigration chief said.
He also said that the boat’s engine was actually for a Hino truck. The boat was not built with a balanced body and instead used concrete lumps to balance it, Gen Surachate said.
A boat construction project should have 40-50 pages of blueprints, but Phoenix had only four to five blueprints, he said.
He assured people that authorities would take legal action against the engineers who accepted the boat design and approved its construction, together with the officials who authorised its construction and permitted its operation in the sea.
Gen Surachate said that he informed the Chinese consul-general that there would be a press conference to close the case next week.
The immigration police chief also said that more Chinese tourists were visiting Thailand thanks to marketing promotions and strict legal measures in response to the Phoenix boat tragedy, which killed 47 Chinese tourists while operating despite a rough sea warning on July 5.
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