Following several speedboat accidents during island tours, Thai officials are imposing stricter safety measures to allay the fears of tourists and bring back their confidence to tour providers, including Club Champagne.
Krabi and Phuket are two of the most visited marine attractions and officials of the two southern provinces have made plans to ensure rescue boats and crews are ready to provide quick response in the event of an accident.
They also need to be available round the clock.
Officials believe the steps taken will restore confidence on the speedboats and service providers of scenic islet tours among tourists.
The Tragedies That Quashed Tourist Trust
On 14 January 2018, the speedboat King Poseidon 959, which belonged to Thai Fu Charoen Co, exploded during a trip to the Phi Phi islands. A total of 16 passengers were injured, including 2 crew members. The boat carrying a total of 26 Chinese tourists, including 3 children, had a fuel leak that led to the explosion. One crew member has been charged with negligence leading to other’s injury.
Two days later, two vessels collided near the Royal Phuket Marina in the Muang district. Five Italians and one Thai were reportedly injured.
These tragic events caused confidence of tourists over speedboat services to plummet.
Beefing Up Safety and Security
In a recent meeting, authorities agreed that something better needs to be done to prevent similar accidents from happening.
Safety measures should be tightened as well at piers, on the speedboat, and for everyone on board, said ML Kitibodi Prawit, the governor of Krabi.
One option is to improve the capacity to quickly and effectively respond to such accidents.
Other list of actions tagged by Krabi officials as urgent include:
- Installation of security cameras on every pier.
- Monitoring of boat maintenance to ensure every vessel meets a set of standards agreed upon.
- Ensure drivers and crews must be in good shape.
- Better handling of passenger information, including identities and destination.
- Storage of passenger information must be kept in a database for quick reference in the event of an accident, allowing officials to reach and reassure families of relatives involved.
Kudos to the Authorities’ Quick Action and Response
Following the efforts of Thai officials, the office of Pracha Atsawathira, manager of Digital Economy Promotion Agency in the Phuket branch was asked to help design the database for passenger information and to provide ideas that can modernize local trips’ protocols.
Thousands of speedboats have also been registered and checked if they meet safety requirements. 500 in Krabi and 2,000 in Phuket, to date.
In a report, Krabi police chief Pol Maj Gen Bunthawi Toraksa said that “If the boats are not ready for travel and deemed unsafe, they cannot leave piers.”
ML Kitibodi also added that boat routes should also be examined on top of checking if the “crews are fit for purpose.” Accident-prone areas will undergo more frequent inspections carried out by patrol boats.
With these actions in place, it won’t be long before tourists would once again flock to Thailand to enjoy trips to scenic islets.