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The Blue Star: Burmese authorities question passengers, crew

Phuket Dive Boat Sinking: Burmese Authorities Question Survivors, Crew

Monday, February 10, 2014
PHUKET: The sinking of a dive boat off the coast of Burma has left a group of tourist divers and crew still being questioned by authorities in the Burmese border port of Victoria Point.

Most of those on board the MV Blue Star have yet to be allowed to return to Phuket, a well-informed source told Phuketwan tonight.

The sinking of the vessel with up to 20 people making a narrow escape has followed within days of the mysterious disappearance of a man who is said to have fallen overboard.

That case is being kept open by police and consular officials because no body has been found.

The sinking of the luxurious timber Blue Star was the second time an Andaman-region dive boat has gone to the bottom in less than a fortnight.

A dive instructor on the Phuket-based craft Peter Pan captured footage of the dive boat Aladdin going down on January 29 with passengers and crew jumping for their lives.

No details have been revealed about the latest sinking by the Phuket-based operators of the MV Blue Star or about the mysterious disappearance overboard of a Finnish passenger last month.

The blaze that sank the vessel in Burmese waters is being attributed at this stage to a possible gas blast that sparked a fire.

It's not known how long Burmese authorities plan to hold the passengers and crew, rescued during the sinking by a passing fishing boat.

But Phuketwan's source says the Burmese officials would like to talk to at least one official from the Phuket-based company.

Victoria Point, where questioning about the incident is taking place, according to the source, is opposite the Thai port of Ranong.

Visa runners from Phuket usually visit both the ports when they wish to have their stays in Thailand extended.

Further down the coast in the border province that bears the same name as the port, police are still investigating the disappearance of a Finnish man, Esa Juntunen, 48.

Lieutenant Jamlong Boonsri of Suksamran Police Station says that crew from the Blue Star reported to police in the Phang Nga port of Kuraburi on January 18 that Juntunen had gone overboard about 11pm on January 17.

''The Blue Star was on its way back to Phuket from Victoria Point after a dive trip,'' Lieutenant Jamlong said today. He said the case remained mystifying because no body had been found.

A staff member from the Finnish consulate retrieved Mr Juntunen's backpack and passport from the Blue Star.

However, a puzzle remained about what he was doing on Phuket.

Although he had one-year visas since 2011 and had a new visa stamped on December 29, nobody has so far been able to explain whether Mr Juntunen was working on Phuket or where he was living at the time of his disappearance.

VIDEO, photos of Aladdin sinking
http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article18263937.ab/

Comments

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Looks like the Burmese authorities do something that the Thai authorities don't do, detain and investigate in the case of boat sinkings. Maybe a lesson to learnt by Thai authorities on how to do things?

Posted by Robin on February 11, 2014 01:49

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And 1 more liveaboard diveboat has sunk, apparently also fire, off of Hin Daeng.

Posted by stevenl on February 11, 2014 11:08

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In Thailand, there is no marine training center in the Andaman Sea and the 2 marine training centers are in Samut Prakan and Pattaya.

Therefore, all boat captains have no choice but to work one year at least with a boat operator company and to be eligible to apply to get a helmsman boat licence by complacency witout proper training in marine regulation, safety and rescue.

Boat operators in Thailand along the Andaman Sea would be happy to have a marine training center to get better skilled boat crews.

MERCHANT MARINE TRAINING CENTRE - 120 Moo 7, Soi Tessaban 6, Sukhumvit Road, Bangduan, Samut Prakan 10270 THAILAND Tel: 02 756 49 71/80 Website: http://www.mmtc.ac.th FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/ThaiMMTC

ASIAN MARITIME TECHNOLOGICAL COLLEGE - 79/4 Moo 4, Bung, Sriracha,
Chonburi 20230 THAILAND Tel: 038 042 011 Mobile: 086 377 71 98 Email: russell@amcol.ac.th Website: http://www.amcolasia.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/.../554964131202349

Posted by Whistle-Blower on February 11, 2014 11:11

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Publishing a photo of missing Esa Juntunen might help to find out where he stayed and or worked in the passed and might also help to find him if he is, hopefully, still "walking" around somewhere.

Posted by PhuketExpat on February 11, 2014 11:30

Editor Comment:

If someone disappears at sea, PhuketExpat, it would be quite unusual to spot him in the street.

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On internet I found out that Esa Juntunen had Parkinson's disease.

http://www.bird-man.com/airzone/news-events/news-folder/birdman??-charity-auction-esa???s-freefall-above-tampere-14-1662013-@-skyrace/

Birdman will auction a BIRDMAN AVIATOR GMT watch (RRP 375???). Funds raised by the charity auction will be used to make a lifelong dream of freefall a reality for Esa Juntunen who has been diagnosed for Parkinson???s disease in 2009. Esa???s tandem skydive will be a part of a Skyrace event held 14.-16.6.2013 in Tampere.

Esa Juntunen is a 48-year-old thrill seeker to whom Birdman founder Jari Kuosma has had the privilege to get to know on his journeys in Thailand.
The passionate scuba diver had to let go on his beloved hobby as the disease has progressed. Parkinson's may have slowed down the body but not the mind.
Since living right next to the Malmi airfield in the 90`s and watching skydivers go up and down, Esa got interested in skydiving but never had the chance to do one himself.
Now we can help him achieve this dream.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on February 11, 2014 14:14

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What Whistle blower wrote Mr. Juntunen is true according to the friends. I also heard that he was commit suicide by jumping into the sea. That what I heard.

Strange that Chalong Sea Sport owners will not respond to any questions on this matter.

Posted by Anonymous on February 12, 2014 00:21

Editor Comment:

We would welcome further information from Mr Juntunen's friends or family that is not based on gossip. The police investigation is still open.

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He's life ended to paradise, it is something what i would like to allow for every people.

RIP, questions doesn't bring him back.

Posted by anonymous diver on February 12, 2014 23:08

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paradise? really...

Posted by diver on March 1, 2014 03:27


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