A meeting was held on Tuesday morning at Chalong Pier, led by Navy chief of staff Admiral Pichet Tannaset, who said he was determined to follow through with measures that would ensure marine safety – better controlling tour boats in Phuket in order to prevent marine accidents.
He said: “We don’t have direct power to enforce the law, but we have seen many problems emerge from this boat tragedy [when dozens of Chinese tourists died earlier this month].
“We want to see vastly improved passenger management at all ports as soon as possible. Also, the checking of boats and boat safety equipment. A draft tour boat management enforcement procedure is currently being prepared.”
The director-general of the Marine Department, Jiru Wisanjit, said: “We are highly focused on ports and boat safety. We are checking on boats that carry more than 100 passengers for their safety and correct registration. Some boat licences were found to be expired. Those boats are currently banned from leaving port.
“After we set the new, stricter safety parameters, tour boats will only be permitted to depart from ports that have been registered for tour boat operations. Tourists might be affected by this due to having to travel further for a departure point, but we have to do this to ensure better marine safety.”