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Biology centre overseer Thanet Mannoi, being sued by sea walkers

Marine Biology Chief Being Sued

Friday, July 26, 2013
PHUKET: The overseer of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre is being sued by a sea walker company for driving it out of a protected marine area off Phuket.

The Director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thanet Mannoi, told a meeting today that police had sent him a letter telling him a criminal action had been instigated by the sea walker company.

An as-yet unnamed Bangkok official signed the paperwork allowing a sea walker business to operate in a protected area off Phuket, Khun Thaet said he learned from a letter sent by police.

Marine biologists from the centre and Phuket dive volunteers drove off the sea walker company after a section of a coral reef was destroyed near Kai Island, a popular day-trip atoll destination for Asian visitors to Phuket.

Sea walkers put on a dive bell helmet and are supplied with air pumped through a plastic hose while they walk along the sand. No swimming, snorkelling or scuba skills are required.

Marine biologists and dive volunteers discovered that the company had engaged sea gypsies to clear coral from a 300-metre path so the sand could be exposed for undersea walking.

The environmental clash emphasised the rapaciousness of businesses that profit from the coral reefs off Phuket but have no interest in preserving or maintaining it.

''I am being sued by the seawalking company from Kai island,'' Khun Thanet said today. ''We reacted to the destruction of the coral reef.

''It's our job to protect the environment. We wonder: how can this happen?

''The company claimed to have permission but we can't imagine how they could possibly have permission to destroy coral in a protected area.''

Biologists and Phuket divers will be anxiously awaiting the revelation as to who gave approval from Bangkok to desecrate a reef off Phuket.

At least three sea walking companies are reported to be operating with permission off He island, another popular Phuket day-trip destination.

Thailand's marine and coastal treasures are likely to be rapidly destroyed as package tourism flourishes unless laws protecting beaches and reefs are strictly enforced.

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This man is trying to do a very necessary job on a modest government salary and is intimidated. As he says why would someone in BKK sign off to destroy coral in a protected area. Even if they did would it be legally enforceable if it was breaking the law. you article is not clear as it mentioned being sued which is civil law but then mentions a criminal case. Please follow up on this case.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on July 26, 2013 15:29

Editor Comment:

Police are never involved in civil matters, only criminal.

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Sea walking has to stop. It is really devastating to the already fragile coral reefs.

Posted by Maria on July 26, 2013 16:14

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Some official in a shiny chair allowed this? ,will this unnamed official identify himself and appear in court as the star witness id say he will never be identified, make himself known or will have retired recently to places unknown.

Posted by slickmelb on July 27, 2013 05:44

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Interesting. So now if you can lobby support from someone in authority you are licensed to destroy Thailands natural resources for profit.

I am not a scholar of Thai law but I somehow doubt this is anywhere on the statute books.

Amazing, miracle Thailand.

Posted by soupdragon on July 27, 2013 07:04

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I would think the Phuket Marine Biological Centre would have more of a case to sue the sea walking company, surely they will be made to rehabilitate the area they destroyed? It will be interesting to see how this plays out under Thai law.

Posted by coxo on July 27, 2013 07:14

Editor Comment:

Let's hope the bank accounts of all involved are revealed to the world.

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hats off to this gentleman for actually doing his job.

Posted by fw on July 27, 2013 10:12

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How dare these companies sue the very people who are trying to save their lively hood! Tourists will not want come to Phuket to see sandy murky dead water with no fish. Sea walking companies need to receive education about how to manage their own businesses.

Posted by silkyshark on July 27, 2013 20:32

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How sad to see how far is corruption going :(

Posted by paul on July 28, 2013 12:04


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