It was the third incident involving blockades of US Navy personnel by Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk drivers at the island's deep sea port, Vice Governor Treerayut Eamtakul was told by a senior US Embassy official when the men met at Provincial Hall in Phuket City today.
Douglas H. Robinson, Chief, Navy Security, Force Protection Detachment, was assured by the vice governor that there would be no fourth incident, and that Phuket felt a ''sense of shame'' about what had happened.
Vice Governor Treerayut undertook to oversee the operation of the committee. He also said that a full investigation will be held into the latest incident so that he can be told the causes when he returns from a two-week visit to Australia, which begins tomorrow.
Visitors from the US military and vessels from the fleets of other navies required a level of protection that was greater than the security provided for normal tourists, the vice governor said. The drivers involved in the latest dispute felt the local van drivers were getting some business, but that the taxi drivers were not.
The two men spoke for 40 minutes, with Commander Rachan Sritakkon, Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Third Naval Area Command, and Bhuritt Maswongssa, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association, also adding to the conversation.
While the blockade on June 13 was downplayed by the US embassy at the time, today's visit by Mr Robinson emphasised the seriousness of the incident. A repetition would almost certainly put at risk the future of visits by US vessels, which have provided a regular fillip for Phuket tourism since 2008.
A US representative will be part of the new committee, which will also include the vice governor, local authorities, police, and the Royal Thai Navy.
With Phuket's Provincial Hall central administration now formally involved, the drivers will in effect be taking on the government of Thailand if they repeat the blockade.
After today's meeting, Mr Robinson told Phuketwan that the previous incidents had involved large numbers of crew on large vessels, but the June 13 incident involved a small number of crew.
''Everything else has been wonderful,'' he said. ''Phuket is one of our favorite places for ships to come. It's very convenient for ships to stop off in Phuket.
''There's plenty of things to do, and plenty of places for our people to stay. The people are very hospitable and the food is excellent. We've had very very few problems in the past.''
He said he was happy with the response from the vice governor, and with the suggestion of a committee to oversee future visits.
''Because of the security stance that we have in place at the port, the taxis have to remain right outside the port. This time it was vans, the previous two times it was buses.
''In the previous two incidents, the drivers appeared displeased that they were not getting enough business from the sailors walking out to their taxis.
''We understand the taxi drivers have a livelihood and they do get business from our sailors on Phuket. One thing that the US Navy does and will continue to do is to provide transport for our sailors as a courtesy from the port [at Cape Panwa on the east coast] to Patong and back.
''After that, the sailors then have the opportunity to use taxis to go anywhere on the island that they want to go.''
Restrictions on taxis from one zone picking up passengers in other zones probably mean that the drivers around the port only have one chance to pick up US sailors as passengers.