The advisory, if issued, would warn travellers about the dangerous surf conditions along Phuket’s west coast during the southwest monsoon and the current state of lifeguard coverage at Phuket’s beaches.
The launch comes as Daren Jenner, the ISLA Marine Safety Warrant Officer for Phuket, visited officials at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok today (May 15).
“They are considering our request for a travel warning,” Mr Jenner told The Phuket News.
The request follows a delegation of officials from the Chinese embassy visiting Phuket last week to raise safety issues with provincial officials, and specifically to inspect first-hand, and thank, the lifeguards posted at Patong Beach. (See story here.)
In speaking with Phuket’s top-ranking officials last Thursday, the Chinese delegation specifically called for trained, experienced lifeguards to patrol Phuket’s beaches. (See story here.)
“The formal request has also been sent to the US Embassy in Bangkok by mail. I will be going to US Embassy personally tomorrow to follow up with them,” Mr Jenner told The Phuket News late this afternoon.
Mr Jenner has also been called back to meet with Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong on his return to Phuket.
Mr Jenner was called to the Governor’s House yesterday morning (May 14) to explain in person his understanding of the current situation regarding lifeguards on Phuket’s beaches.
That meeting was called after the Governor Norraphat’s inspection of the lifeguard coverage at beaches on Phuket’s northwest coast on Saturday (May 12).
During that visit, Tourism and Sports Phuket Office Chief Sirawee Waloh herself called for better support for Phuket’s lifeguards, especially in the provision of essential lifesaving equipment. (See story here.)
During the meeting at the Governor’s House yesterday, Mr Jenner handed Governor Norraphat a copy of the ISLA beach safety audit for Phuket – which marked a “Fail” for all beaches, except Patong.
“I told them we were launching a global information campaign and global online petition to issue a travel warning,” Mr Jenner explained to The Phuket News.
“The travel warning is included in the Beach Safety Fail Notice, and was also reinforced by a powerpoint show. They are aware they are facing an imminent travel warning,” he added.
Mr Jenner also raised “financial issues” concerning how the lifeguard contract was offered for years under the Phuket Provincial Administration Office (PPAO, or OrBorJor), and current discrepancies under the budget amounts for lifeguards provided under the Kamala Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).
“We will specifically target the Chinese Consul-General and the envoy that complained about lack of lifeguards, and lack of experience and training,” Mr Jenner noted.
“Governor Plodthong is aware that there are now over 220 internationally certified lifeguards ready to go to work. They have been drafted from the ranks of the former lifeguard force, and were retrained in international standards in March/April. The training took place at Nai Harn, Kata, Karon, Kamala, Surin, Bang Tao, Layan, Nai Yang and Mai Khao beaches,” he added.
“I received a request today to meet the Governor about this again when I return,” Mr Jenner told The Phuket News this afternoon.
Regarding current lifeguard coverage at Phukte’s beaches, Mr Jenner noted, “We have rechecked the beaches today, and all so far are devoid of lifeguards, except Patong.”
To join the ISLA online petition, click here.