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The Aladdin is going down and passengers leap for their lives

VIDEO Dramatic Similans Sinking, Rescue

Thursday, January 30, 2014
VIDEO, photos in Sweden's Aftonbladet

PHUKET: A dive boat sank in the Similan islands with a ''frantic rescue'' required to save all on board, it was revealed today.

The dive boat Aladdin with 13 on board was not registered and operating near the park illegally, officials told Phuketwan.

On a second boat nearby, Swedish diver Dennis Karlsson, 46, took dramatic photographs showing the panic as the Aladdin quickly sank to the bottom about noon yesterday.

It was between Bon Island and Tachai island. Fortunately for the people on the Aladdin, the Phuket-based vessel Peter Pan was close by and able to rescue them all.

Scandinavians were among divers on both vessels, Mr Karlsson told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper where his photographs were published today.

The Aladdin sank in minutes, he said. ''It was just coincidence that our boat was there and could come to the rescue,'' Mr Karlsson said. ''It was really, really serious.''

The wooden hull of the boat was holed and the Aladdin tipped then sank, with people scrambling to get off.

''People threw themselves headlong into the water. Some disappeared under the surface. It was a very close thing for some of them and people were so grateful that the Peter Pan was there.''

It's believed the vessel Aladdin, based in Ranong, a Thai port on the border with Burma, was on a four-day live-aboard adventure.

According to park officials Phuketwan spoke to today, the Aladdin was not a registered vessel and should not have been operating.

Peter Pan operates out of Phuket. Andaman coast and Phuket authorities, with the help of the British Embassy, are attempting to lift marine safety standards.

Yesterday's sinking of the Aladdin is likely to trigger a closer investigation of illegal boats that are said to operate in the Similans region with corrupt payments made to renegade marine park rangers.

The Director of the Surin Island National Park, Kongkiert Temtamnan, confirmed today that the sinking happened between Bon Island and Tachai Island and not in the Surin park region.

The Director of the Similan islands national park, Nat Kongkasem, said today that both the islands were part of the national park but the Aladdin sank between the islands. in a location that was not part of the national park.

''The vessel operates out of Ranong,'' he said. ''It was not registered to operate in the national park and the hull was clearly of poor quality.''

VIDEO, photos in Sweden's Aftonbladet


Comments have been disabled for this article.


In Thailand, there is no marine training center in the Andaman Sea and the 2 marine training centers are in Samut Prakan and Pattaya.

Therefore, all boat captains have no choice but to work one year at least with a boat operator company and to be eligible to apply to get a helmsman boat licence by complacency witout proper training in marine regulation, safety and rescue.

Boat operators in Thailand along the Andaman Sea would be happy to have a marine training center to get better skilled boat crews.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 30, 2014 10:45


People who know the condition of this boat wouldn't blame the crew but the boat's owner in the 1st instance. However, in the end it's the Captain who's in charge.

Posted by Resident on January 30, 2014 11:21


@Resident - We may add that the Harbour or Marine Department, is in charge to inspect all transport boats once a year before delivering the certificate to operate as transport vessel.

Again, negligence on duty or lack of civil servants to survey all tour boats may be blamed in that case.

The Harbour or Marine Department is responsible for all licences for ownership and operation of boats in Thailand.

Marine Department of Thailand (Port Office)
Address: 1278 Yotha Road, Taladnoi, Samphanthawong District, Bangkok 10100
Tel: 02 233 1311-8
Marine Office 5 Phuket branch
Address: 88/5 Sukdidat Road, Muang, Phuket
Tel: 076 391 174

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 30, 2014 11:50


That is very scary footage. Lucky everyone got out alive.

Posted by Pete on January 30, 2014 12:11


Let me get this right, the boat was unregistered to operate, but was operating...WHY? Surely if foreign tourists can find the boat then it isn't unreasonable to expect the marine authorities to find it, and have it taken out of action. Willing to debate this with anyone.... except Ed.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 30, 2014 14:50


The Director of the Similan islands national park, Nat Kongkasem, said today that both the islands were part of the national park but the Aladdin sank between the islands. in a location that was not part of the national park.

I'm not a diver, but according to my on-line research, the national park boundary emcompasses all the designated islands, without breaks in the park boundary between the islands.

Perhaps someone can clarify this.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on January 30, 2014 15:55


Sorry to se that. Hope everyone is safe. I was on queen manta 4 last year, the boat that sank the same way on April 16. My thoughts to every person on this bad adventure.

Posted by Anonymous on January 30, 2014 18:45


@ Simon- don't expect an answer from the Director of the Marine Police Region 5 other than, 'not me, nothing to do with me, you should know'!

Posted by Mister Ree on January 30, 2014 19:26


"Swedish diver Dennis Karlsson, 46, took dramatic photographs..."
instead of helping them????

Posted by Wondering Will on January 30, 2014 22:09

Editor Comment:

It's pretty clear, WW, on even a quick look at the video how difficult it would have been to help until after the boat sank. Why spout an unreasonable comment without doing some research? The fact that all the passengers survived shows that the people on the Peter Pan did everything they needed to do. The video will probably be the best thing ever for marine safety on and around Phuket. We will welcome the day when every incident risking the lives of tourists automatically becomes the reason for an independent investigation, as this one should. The dive industry is not well regulated.


Dear Ed, I disagree a bit about the dive industry not regulateed. Actually the diving and marine industry as a whole here in thailand is regulated. The officals are not doing the job. They look the other way even when things are directly their responsibilty. Why was a unregisterd boat in the park all high season? Could they have not paid park fees all that time. No offical/park ranger saw them? There are many laws and rules here in Thaialnd they are just not enforced. Fix the enforcement first before creating more uesless rules and regulations.

Posted by jiminkata on January 31, 2014 10:32

Editor Comment:

If the officials are not doing the job, then the industry is not regulated.


The writers of this article need to get their facts right! The vessel's name is not the Aladdin, but the Flying Carpet... Maybe that's why they can't find a registration. To bring news, a minimum of proper research is necessary. Seems to me that this website is just out on sensation!

Posted by Koen on February 1, 2014 20:32

Editor Comment:

Hardly. The video certainly tells the story. Boat's names are often changed. Flying Carpet or Aladdin, it's on the bottom.


Tonight the biggest German TV station RTL showed in its weekend edition of explosiv 8pm Show a Feature about Thai ferryboat with a German expert for ship safety on three ferries to and from Phuket. The boats were rotten, taking water in the bilge without pumps, the emergency exits were closed with steal wire or just corroded that they were not to open. On the top the one boat had a reeling to the knees and the camera team were afraid of falling of the boat because the captain was racing through the waves. Another boat of tourists looked cramped like a rohingha boat so full. One tourist was totally afraid and wanted to leave the boat again, but she said she was not allowed. Pretty devastating for Thai tourism. The pictures told the story pretty harshly.

Posted by Lena on February 9, 2014 23:52

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