At 6:42pm yesterday (July 11) at Wat Kosit Wihan, a group from the Thailand Buddhist Association and a group from the Bangkok-based Buddhism group Pong Lai Kiw Koh 9 performed a ceremony to bring the souls of the Phoenix boat disaster victims to heaven according to beliefs held by Chinese people.
Then at 7:20pm, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarundra and Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong presided over a funeral ceremony to make merit for 24 of the boat disaster victims being kept at Wat Kosit Wihan.
Also present at the ceremony were Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chen Xiongfeng, Director General of the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports Anan Wongbenjarat, Deputy Director of the Tourism Department Santi Pawai, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Noppadol Pakprot and various representatives from related government agencies and relatives of the deceased.
Mr Pongpanu gave a speech in which he encouraged relatives and support staff affected by the boat disaster which took place last Thursday evening (July 5).
The speech was followed by a religious ceremony and rituals according to the beliefs of the Chinese relatives performed by the Ministry of Culture Phuket office and the Phuket Cultural Office.
The Phuket Buddhism Office is arranging funerals for relatives of the deceased who would like them performed in Phuket rather than repatriating the bodies home to China at 11 Phuket temples; Wat Cherng Talay, Wat Thepwanaram (in Baan Manik), Wat Srisoonthorn, Wat Ladthiwanaram (“Wat Tai” in Chalong), Wat Mongkolwanaram (in Nai Yang), Wat Chaithararam (Wat Chalong), Wat Phra Thong (in Thalang), Wat Phra Nang Sang (in Thalang), Wat Kosit Wihan, Wat Muang Mai, and Wat Thep Krasattri.
To date, relatives for 19 of the 45 boat disaster victims bodies have requested cremations take place in Phuket with 16 having already been cremated and five bodies already sent to home.
There are now 24 bodies being kept at in Wat Kosit Wihan. However, later today there will be funeral ceremonies for three further victims at Wat Muang Mai while a further six bodies will be repatriated back to China.