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Cargo ships are not allowed for Loy Krathong.

Cargo ships are not allowed for Loy Krathong.

The Marine Department will ban all cargo ships along a section of the Chao Phraya River from Rama VII Bridge to Rama IX Bridge in the capital to boost safety during the Loy Krathong celebrations this Friday.

“These large cargo carriers often cause big waves that slam into the banks of the river. This severely affects people in those areas, especially given that water levels are still high,” Chirute Visalachitra, director-general of the Marine Department told the media yesterday.

The ban on large cargo ships will start from 4 pm on Friday and last until midnight, Mr. Chirute said. However, the restriction will not be imposed on public boats, including the Chao Phraya Express Boat and other ferries, and these will be allowed to operate as usual, he added.

However, boats found to be moving at high speeds or not following safety protocols will be fined between 500 and 5,000 baht, said Mr. Chirute. Ferry operators have been urged to exercise caution as extremely high tides in the Chao Phraya River can raise the risk of accidents, he added.

Charoenporn Charoenthum, managing director of Chao Phraya Express Boat Co Ltd, said yesterday the company’s boats have been taking precautions. “We are aware of the Chao Phraya River’s high water levels, and have instructed our drivers to cautiously complete their rounds,” he said, adding that boat drivers have been urged to operate their vessels slowly.

That, he said, would result in an additional 30 to 40 minutes on average to complete an entire route. In a related development, the Royal Thai Navy is preparing to deploy 30 boats along the Chao Phraya River to help in the event of possible accidents.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has completed inspecting 422 piers on the Chao Phraya River and canals across the city and found that 107 them were unsafe. Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said the city has approved 190 piers on the Chao Phraya River and another 125 piers on canals as safe for the public to use during Loy Krathong. He urged people to use only piers with the BMA’s approval banners.

A few large piers will also have CCTV cameras installed, he said. On Friday night, the BMA will keep 30 out of 35 public parks open for people to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival. These parks will be open until midnight.

However, five parks will be closed, two of which — Suanluang Rama IX in Prawet district and Queen Sirikit Park in Chatuchak district — contain valuable plants. The other three parks that will be closed are Benjakitti Park next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Watcharaphirom Park in Bang Khen district and Bung Nong Bon Park in Prawet district.   Source: Bangkok Post