However, the dispute over the shuttle buses that began in Patong last night has meant vans and buses being prevented from picking up crews from the nuclear powered USS Nimitz and the accompanying warship USS Princeton.
About 800 sailors and air crew were milling at the docks today, wondering what to do. About 5000 US service men and women are on Phuket to enjoy shore leave R&R - if they can.
Some of them were to be involved in three community service projects today. These are likely to have to be cancelled because of the standoff, organisers said.
Royal Thai Navy sailors who were to participate in the community projects were also stuck at the dock.
Local taxi drivers are taking advantage of the dispute, ferrying US crew-members across the island to Patong and other destinations at hugely inflated fares.
Phuketwan heard one tuk-tuk driver negotiate to carry five passengers to Patong at 400 baht each, a 2000 baht windfall ride for the driver.
The dispute began in Patong last night when the company that runs the shuttle bus service between the deep sea port and Patong ordered drivers to stop.
The company claimed that the Glenn Marine Group, which provides services when US warships are in South East Asian ports, had not paid them. The debt is said to amount to eight million baht, going back to October.
Glenn Marine says the company has been paid.
With hundreds of crew left to find their own way back to the ships from Patong last night, the dispute continued today at the deep sea port.
Phuketwan has been told that 20 police in combat gear were transferred from Phuket City to Patong in case the situation deteriorated last night.
''With hundreds of unhappy people standing around, things could certainly have gotten worse,'' one source said. ''The tuk-tuks were charging 4000, 5000, 6000 baht to take people back to the port.''
Colonel Jirapat Pochanapan, the Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong, contacted a woman who represents Glenn Marine on Phuket.
She failed to turn up in Patong to deal with the situation, Phuketwan's source said. Some of the bus drivers responded to the colonel's request to take the US crews back to the port.
The owner of the bus company said today that the shuttle buses did eventually transport US crews back to the ships last night - at 2am.
Owner Ali Kumbaan, said: ''This is very bad for Phuket. We have still had no response.'' He added that 34 buses were involved in the shuttle service.
Phuket police were at the port to prevent trouble. It's believed the bus drivers are not letting other buses or vans pick up the US service men and women.
The leader of the local Phuket taxi group said they were not a party to the dispute. ''It's nothing to do with us,'' said Narong Kumbaan, who controls about 160 taxis. ''This is not our fault.''
He said that although the crews were looking for transport, the port controllers were still only allowing 25 taxis to the docks area at any time.
Yesterday he denied reports that drivers had asked for $200 to drive passengers on a cruise ship to Patong, a distance of about 20 kilometres.
Local taxi drivers blockaded the deep sea port on a US warship visit in 2011 and won the right to have access to a greater proportion of arriving passengers.
US authorities have always insisted that their crews have the right to alternative means of transport in the buses. But at the time that pronouncement was made, a dispute over the buses was not anticipated.