General Manager of the accused overloaders, Taiwoot Choosakul, said that the prolonged arrest of the Koh Lipe ferry with 82 people on a vessel registered to hold 65 meant that several expat passengers missed flights on Tuesday.
As a result the Koh Lipe Ferry and Speedboat Company had to pay for other flights and the passengers' extra accommodation, Khun Taiwoot said.
He led a protest of 50 people to the Marine Office 5 at mainland Pak Bara Pier yesterday, demanding 50,000 baht in compensation, and the immediate removal of the regional head of Marine Office 5, Wichai Kamwong.
Satun is a less developed province to the south of Phuket.
Khun Wichai was on Phuket at New Year to check passenger numbers and safety provisions on the large ferries that ply between Phuket, Phi Phi, Lanta, mainland Krabi and other island destinations. Phuket passed the safety test.
Khun Wichai told Phuketwan today: ''We checked this vessel soon after it left Koh Lipe. If the boat had turned back quickly, the six expats on board would have been able to catch another ferry without missing their flight from Had Yai to Bangkok.
''Instead the captain, Sittipong Yeelanug, tried to tough it out and made many phone calls to try to extract himself from the grip of our enforcement officers. My staff had no choice except to make this arrest.
''The safety of tourists and residents depend on the laws being upheld. These people pose a danger to everyone as they have been caught doing this more than once.''
Khun Wichai said that today he would be going to Satun police and seeking further action against Captain Sittipong and his boss.