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The Region 8 police commander meets tourists on a Phuket pier today

UPDATE Top Cop Checks Phuket Ferries After Pattaya Sinking Kills Tourists

Monday, November 4, 2013
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

DIVERS fear finding more bodies in the wreck of a ferry off Pattaya with six dead so far including Hong Konger To Kin Man, 48, and two unidentified westerners, a man and a woman. Two Russians are in intensive care.

Original Report

PHUKET: In an immediate response to the Pattaya ferry sinking, the Police Commander of Region 8, Major General Panya Mamen, inspected vessels at Phuket's main pier today.

''We have had no crashes on Phuket as bad as Pattaya,'' he said. ''But we must remain vigilant and prevent such a situation arising here.''

Marine Police have been ordered to check Phuket's ferries and speedboats and to make sure ''captains'' understand their responsibilities and that lifejackets are available for all passengers.

''The high season has just begun on Phuket and I want to make sure the obligation to protect all tourists at all times is fully understood and observed.''

The Region 8 commander has control over Marine Police but no power over Phuket's Marine 5 officials, who regulate tourist vessels.

The official death toll in the ferry capsize off Pattaya remains at six today, although a national newspaper reported this morning that a seventh person had died.

Police are keen to interview the ferry's captain. The ferry that sank was making the last trip back to Pattaya for the day.

The vessel, returning to Pattaya from the day-trip destination of Lan island, appears to have been carrying too many passengers.

When the lower deck started taking water, passengers moved to the top deck, tilting the vessel until it toppled, officials said. More than 100 passengers are reported to have suffered injuries.

Thais and foreigners - believed to be Chinese and Russian - are among the dead and injured.

Given the publicly expressed concerns of ambassadors from China and the European Union about Thailand's need to improve tourist safety standards, the events surrounding the sinking are likely to be closely scrutinised.

There have been no multiple fatalities in the Phuket region in recent times but there have been several close calls.

Authorities have also acknowledged that too many non-swimming or poor-swimming Chinese are drowning at beaches and on snorkelling trips.

Comments

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Its about time responsibilities and regulations were streamlined. Whenever something does happen it always seems to be 'nothing to do with us'.

At least Gen Panya is being proactive but it's a job for his Colonels and they shouldn't have to be told to do it.

Posted by Mister Ree on November 4, 2013 11:10

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This sort of proactive response is a very good sign for Phuket.

Posted by Arthur on November 6, 2013 08:28


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