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Phuket Opinion: Gasping for marine safety

Phuket Opinion: Gasping for marine safety

PHUKET: The number of tourists who died while engaging in nothing more than normal water-related tourist activities over the past month were enough for not only the Commander of the Royal Thai Navy base in Phuket to step up last week and say his piece about what was required to make Phuket safer for tourists, but also the commander of entire country’s Tourist Police Bureau.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 15 December 2019, 11:00AM

A Tourist Police officers looks out the search area marked out on a chart at Yanui Beach earlier this week. Photo: Tourist Police

A Tourist Police officers looks out the search area marked out on a chart at Yanui Beach earlier this week. Photo: Tourist Police

If Polish tourist Mateusz Juszkiewicz, 26, and Thai national Werakan Sirirakon, 23, who disappeared while while kayaking with friends off Yanui Beach, off Phuket’s southwest coast, last Saturday afternoon (Dec 7), are not miraculously found alive, the tally of tourists killed by the waters around Phuket will rise to 12 in the past seven weeks – eight of those in just one month.

What cannot be ignored is that these tourists were doing only what countless other tourists had had done before them, and many more since.

Worse, all of the deaths were preventable. At face value, this all seems too much for local operators and officials to comprehend. If that is not the case, the only logical presumption to be made is that tour operators just don’t care enough to take any further action.

The Phuket navy base commander and the Tourist Police chief stepping up to voice their concerns can be taken, thankfully, as a clear sign that attitude is not acceptable. The public call for improved water-safety measures may also herald the introduction of even more regulations.

Thailand has a habit of going from zero regulation to over-regulation in a knee-jerk blink of an eye, but as many readers rightly pointed out last week with the news of the impending introduction of the demerit points system for driver’s licences, all that regulation means nothing without enforcement.

After all, the Phoenix tour boat disaster of last year that killed 47 Chinese tourists and marked the beginning of the downturn in tourism for the whole country did not happen without some officials allowing the boat to put to sea despite regulatory requirements.

Yet, as with the demerit points system, hope lies in introducing a system that removes the option of local officials and operators having a choice of ignoring the law. Failing that, how much luck or poor judgement plays a part in a tourist staying alive while on holiday in Phuket is anyone’s guess.


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Rorri_2 | 17 December 2019 - 05:44:43

Wiesel, and Pascale, I think the difference is one commenter adds to the story, while others attack that person without adding a counter arguement, those commenters need to grow up.

BigA | 16 December 2019 - 16:36:33

One would expect any one in this kind of business renting out boats etc.would have there own means to go looking to find there missing kayak right after when they  don't back! As for searching I would start with a min.30 mile radius (depends how much time went by ) and than go smaller  Horst

Pascale | 16 December 2019 - 15:02:34

@Wiesel.  I agree.100%

Wiesel | 16 December 2019 - 13:33:48

But you allow posts where Phuket Marine Office is blamed as useless and not funktional at all in general?

Wiesel | 16 December 2019 - 09:33:05

K..., if you realy want to start stopping useless things just start to stop your useless comments first. ;-)

Just a reminder to all people posting comments on any stories here... We will try to allow comments that reply to a previous comment posted... But comments that are nothing more than derision of someone else posting a comment will not be approved - as per the terms and conditions of post...

GerryT81 | 15 December 2019 - 16:35:47

Many deaths or serious accidents could be prevented if tourists would use their common sense first before starting any activities in the water or anywhere else.Nothing wrong with improving safety measures,but it won't stop people from being stupid.Not here or anywhere else.

Kurt | 15 December 2019 - 11:44:03

Let's start to dissolve useless Phuket Marine Office, or bring it under command of the Royal Thai Navy. Right now Phuket Marine office is not functioning at all. A useless local government body. Mainly busy to tell what is not their responsibility. Did Phuket Marine Office ever checked that Kayak rental business on renting out safety? Or suggested location responders in the kayaks?

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