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Phuket Shuttle Bus Pay Protest Strands Hundreds of US Military in Patong

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
PHUKET: Hundreds of US Navy personnel were reported to be stranded in Patong tonight in a pay dispute when shuttle bus drivers staged a protest strike.

The drivers stopped work about 10pm, claiming they had not been paid and were owed millions of baht by the Glenn Marine Group, which provides services when US warships are in South East Asian ports.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and an accompanying vessel, the USS Princeton, anchored off Phuket's east coast deep sea port yesterday.

A shuttle bus service has been running across the 20 kilometres between the deep sea port, at Ao Makham on Phuket's east coast, and Patong, the nightlife capital on Phuket's holiday west coast.

''It's a stand-off at the moment,'' a source told Phuketwan. just before midnight. ''The drivers say they haven't been paid and the Glenn Marine people say they have.''

About 350 peole were standing about, many appearing to be mildly intoxicated, the source said.

The military personnel, due back on board their ships, milled around in Patong after 11pm awaiting instructions from officers.

The designated drop-off and pick-up point is near the Patong Resort Hotel. Hotel staff said tonight they were aware of the issue and that the military personnel - in civilian clothes - had been milling about for several hours.

Most Americans are hesitant to use the alternative means of transport, Phuket tuk-tuks and taxis, because cabs on Phuket charge fares that are between six and 10 times higher than those charged in other parts of Thailand.

It is believed senior staff from both vessels were attending a function in Patong held by the Phuket Navy League to mark the ships' arrival.

The visit to Phuket by the Nimitz and the Princeton is due to last three days.

Comments

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.When is the Chinese Navy due in.

Posted by Scunner on May 30, 2013 00:37

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haha i was waiting for this

Posted by shogunvear on May 30, 2013 01:41

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Phuket's image as a tourist destination gets damaged everyday !!!

Posted by Nauts on May 30, 2013 06:42

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First Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Patong - bring the troops home!

Posted by jigoe on May 30, 2013 07:28

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Don`t come back 2 Phuket it`s only mafia and bad peopel in the transport here in Phuket, i hope Military ships and cruse ships selects other port.
I live here i Phuket fore 6 Year and i move next month,
Police and Emigration here in Phuket are :(

Posted by Wonder on May 30, 2013 08:07

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Well, my 1st comment - waiting for the taxi blockade - didn't get posted... I wasn't so wrong, same same, but different. Just strange the they claim their salaries when transport is due, why not earlier ?

Posted by Resident on May 30, 2013 08:33

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And the sharks are there to offer their services for a small amount lol

Posted by Nicke on May 30, 2013 08:42

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Amazed to see how the drivers have absolutely no shame .... if there was an issue it should have been settled without keeping marines hostage, just another bad memory of Phuket for many people.

Posted by Sailor on May 30, 2013 08:43

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Driving home last night was a total disgrace! The beach road was 3 deep with tuk tuks, only enough room for 1 car. Mix this with slow moving advertisment pickups, coaches & drunk idiots on scooters = DISASTER

Posted by eezergood on May 30, 2013 09:07

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For once it is not the minivans and buses fault. I am very familiar with this situation. It is not a deep sea port blockade by locals. It is with the contract buses and minivans that are used for the duration of the visit. The fees are prearranged by the contracter and they have not been paid the prearranged monies. Nothing under the table or payoffs this time. Still gives phuket a black eye but really not the locals fault. They do not want to lose money just like anywhere else in the world because of not nonpayments.

Posted by jiminkata on May 30, 2013 10:00

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Insted of talking about quality Tourist Phuket should try to become a quality destination first. If you can't even get your taxi drivers under Control . . .

Posted by wattana on May 30, 2013 16:32


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