The ceremony, which began at 8am, was held to bring peace to the souls of the departed.
Present to lead the ceremony were Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong and Chen Xiongfeng, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The mass prayer this morning followed the first cremations of five of the victims at Phuket temples yesterday.
The funeral services began at Wat Kosit Wihan in Sapam, north of Phuket Town, where Governor Norraphat led a mass prayer ceremony starting at 7:30pm.
The mass was organised by the Ministry of Culture Phuket office in accordance with family’s wishes, reported the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department.
Present were Mr Chen of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Zhou Haicheng, who as the Chinese Consul-General in Songkhla is also the leading Chinese official to be represented in Phuket.
Resenting Thailand were Army Region 4 Deputy Commander Lt Gen Pornsak Poonsawat and Rear Admiral Jaroenphon Khumrasee, Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Naval Third Area Command, based at Cape Panwa on Phuket’s east coast, and a host of other high-ranking officials.
It was reported that the ceremony was held as family and relatives of some of the victims wanted to bring the epic tragedy to a close quickly, in Phuket.
Meanwhile, the bodies of 34 victims of the Phoenix tour boat disaster are being kept in freezer units on temple grounds nearby.
The Ministry of Culture Phuket office reported that it has made “emergency” reservations for cremation ceremonies for the bodies of the disaster victims at nine temples on the island: 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), and Wat Kosit Wihan.
Five bodies were cremated in Phuket yesterday: three at Wat Thepwanaram (in Baan Manik) and two at Wat Phra Nang Sang (in Thalang).
The mass service at Wat Kosit saw many translators provided by Thai government agencies on hand to assist officials and temple administrators communicate with the bereaved.
The Chinese Consulate-General and private companies in Phuket donated food and drinks for the merit making required at a Buddhist funeral service.