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One of the injured tourists is brought back to Krabi late today

Tourists Rescued as 40 Boats Sink

Saturday, May 25, 2013
UPDATE with Photo Album Above

MORE than 100 tourists stranded on Koh Hong off Krabi were brought safely back to shore late today in a combined rescue operation by the Chaofa Krabi Centre Marine Rescue Operation, Marine Police and Phi Phi Tours. Two tourists were injured and will require hospital treatment.

Original Report

PHUKET: Rescuers are attempting to pluck 110 stranded tourists from a popular island off the Krabi coast after a storm overturned vessels and sank or smashed 40 boats at one pier this afternoon.

Severe squalls struck the Phuket and Andaman coastal region, sinking the vessels at Ao Nammao Pier, 10 minutes from Railay, and stranding the tourists on Koh Hong.

Rescue workers from the Chaofa Krabi Centre Marine Rescue Operation were late today mounting an attempt to reach Koh Hong. Earlier, they saved 20 tourists when two boats capsized.

One of the tourists struck his head and was being taken for additional treatment at Krabi Hospital.

At least eight boats were also reported to have been sunk at Phi Phi in the storm but with no tourists or crew on board, a spokesman for the centre said.

The severe storm has been forecast for days but was slower to strike the Phuket and Andaman region than predicted.

Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation staff have been placed on 24-hour alert in expectation of landslips occurring if the rain continues.

Winds of up to 50kmh and seas of three metres have been forecast through until Tuesday.

Boat captains along the Andaman coast are being advised to exercise care in looking at forecasts and to not go to sea if the storms continue.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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'The severe storm has been forecast for days but was slower to strike the Phuket and Andaman region than predicted.'

But still these foolish tour operators insist in jeopardizing tourist's lives!

Posted by Logic on May 25, 2013 17:34

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Indeed. This storm was all over the news so no excuses are valid. I would like to hear what Marine Office 5 has to say about this. In particular what action they plan to take in order to prevent the repeated occurrence of such tragedies. I've lost count how many times the same thing has happened.

To claim these are just random accidents does not hold water (pun intended). Reeks of gross negligence to me and quite the opposite what the new tourism minister stated was his priority

Tourism safety.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 25, 2013 19:22

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Wind strengths qualifying as Storm are rare in Thailand, the mentioned windspeed of up to 50 km/h qualifies for a "strong breeze" and if consistently above 50 km/h it would be "high wind/moderate gale" all according to the beaufort scale. Storm wind strenght is wind speeds above 89 km/h ... as the windspeed is squared when calculating the force then a minimum storm windspeed would be around 4 times more powerful that the mentioned wind speed of 50 km/h.

Posted by Sailor on May 25, 2013 19:27

Editor Comment:

A breeze it may have been, Sailor, but a breeze that sank and smashed many boats and put hundreds of lives at risk. Why question the forecast when the evidence is that the winds were above what was anticipated? Are you suggesting that the boat ''captains'' did the right thing? Just exactly what are you trying to say that goes beyond showing you lack an understanding of reality?

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And Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, is off with Phuket governor touring Europe.....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 25, 2013 19:31

Editor Comment:

As the crisis today happened in Krabi, Khun Phuripat would be quick to tell you that it has absolutely nothing to do with Phuket Marine 5.

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Not surprised that you don't like the comment, but it's just facts presented to you and everyone else so that you can understand what a storm is because obviously you don't know....everything else that you get from it is pure fantasy but obviously you just can't stand to be corrected, sometimes I really pity you...and here you try to blame me for not understanding what ? Get a life !

Posted by Sailor on May 25, 2013 19:52

Editor Comment:

I suggest you learn, sailor, that ''breezes'' do not sink boats. Storms do. Are you really still trying to point-score when at least 50 boats have been sunk or smashed by your ''breeze''?

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Editor Comment: As the crisis today happened in Krabi, Khun Phuripat would be quick to tell you that it has absolutely nothing to do with Phuket Marine 5.
Sorry but Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut, chief of the Marine Department Region 5 office is reponsible of all provinces along the Andaman Sea in Thailand which includes Ranong, Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun.
Look @ http://www.md.go.th/eng_page/contact_eng.php

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 25, 2013 20:08

Editor Comment:

Sorry, we've asked Khun Phuripat directly about responsibility for speedboat sinkings, and even if the boats have set off from Phuket and sunk in Phang Nga waters, he will tell you it's a Phang Nga problem. Marine 5 extends across the Andaman. Khun Phuripat's specific responsibility does not. You'd best talk to his boss.

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In my opinion "SAILOR" is right according to Beaufort Wind Scale as below:

Force 0 - Wind (Knots): Less than 1 - WMO (Classification): Calm - Appearance on the Water: Sea surface smooth and mirror-like - Appearance on Land: Calm, smoke rises vertically.
Force 1 - Wind (Knots): 1-3 - WMO (Classification): Light Air - Appearance on the Water: Scaly ripples, no foam crests - Appearance on Land: Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes.
Force 2 - Wind (Knots): 4-6 - WMO (Classification): Light Breeze - Appearance on the Water: Small wavelets, crests glassy, no breaking - Appearance on Land: Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move.
Force 3 - Wind (Knots): 7-10 - WMO (Classification): Gentle Breeze - Appearance on the Water: Large wavelets, crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps - Appearance on Land: Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended
Force 4- Wind (Knots): 11-16 - WMO (Classification): Moderate Breeze - Appearance on the Water: Small waves 1-4 ft. becoming longer, numerous whitecaps - Appearance on Land: Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move.
Force 5 - Wind (Knots):17-21 - WMO (Classification): Fresh Breeze - Appearance on the Water: Moderate waves 4-8 ft taking longer form, many whitecaps, some spray - Appearance on Land: Small trees in leaf begin to sway.
Force 6 - Wind (Knots): 22-27 - WMO (Classification): Strong Breeze - Appearance on the Water: Larger waves 8-13 ft, whitecaps common, more spray - Appearance on Land: Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires.
Force 7 - Wind (Knots): 28-33 - WMO (Classification): Near Gale - Appearance on the Water: Sea heaps up, waves 13-19 ft, white foam streaks off breakers - Appearance on Land: Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind
Force 8 - Wind (Knots): 34-40 - WMO (Classification): Gale - Appearance on the Water: Moderately high (18-25 ft) waves of greater length, edges of crests begin to break into spindrift, foam blown in streaks - Appearance on Land: Twigs breaking off trees, generally impedes progress.
Force 9 - Wind (Knots): 41-47 - WMO (Classification): Strong Gale - Appearance on the Water: High waves (23-32 ft), sea begins to roll, dense streaks of foam, spray may reduce visibility - Appearance on Land: Slight structural damage occurs, slate blows off roofs.
Force 10- Wind (Knots): 48-55 - WMO (Classification): Storm - Appearance on the Water: Very high waves (29-41 ft) with overhanging crests, sea white with densely blown foam, heavy rolling, lowered visibility - Appearance on Land: Seldom experienced on land, trees broken or uprooted, "considerable structural damage".
Force 11- Wind (Knots): 56-63 - WMO (Classification): Violent Storm - Appearance on the Water: Exceptionally high (37-52 ft) waves, foam patches cover sea, visibility more reduced.
12 - Wind (Knots): 64+ - WMO (Classification): Hurricane - Appearance on the Water: Air filled with foam, waves over 45 ft, sea completely white with driving spray, visibility greatly reduced.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 25, 2013 20:40

Editor Comment:

Oh, whistleblower, so a breeze sank 50 boats and put hundreds of lives at risk? If you wish to be pedantic, fine. Just don't ever get into forecasting or rescues at sea.

Who gives two hoots about the beaufort wind scale? It's not an accurate guide to today's reality!

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Editor Comment:

Sorry, we've asked Khun Phuripat directly about responsibility for speedboat sinkings, and even if the boats have set off from Phuket and sunk in Phang Nga waters, he will tell you it's a Phang Nga problem. Marine 5 extends across the Andaman. Khun Phuripat's specific responsibility does not. You'd best talk to his boss.

In that case why is proceed to register all boats in the Andaman Sea as well the yearly survey for all tour boats, fishing boats and private boats?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 25, 2013 20:43

Editor Comment:

As we suggested, ask his boss.

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Tourists cannot expect the same conditions in the Wet Season (it's not called that for no reason!) as the Dry - but they do! Not just in Phuket but also Phang Nga and Krabi and other provinces in the Monsoon region. They still swim on Phuket beaches, with sometimes tragic consequences, in dangerous conditions, even when there are red flags flying and lifeguards on duty. They still go trekking off track against National Park restrictions and without a guide in Khao Sok. They still continue to take boat trips to Phi Phi even though the conditions are likely to change suddenly as on this occasion. So it is not just tour operators who are foolish. Tourists also have a responsibility for not putting their own lives in jeopardy by researching the risks that nature poses when they are lured by low Low Season prices. Promoting these destinations as All Year Round destinations should point out the risks as well as the rewards.

Posted by Alan on May 25, 2013 21:27

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perhaps instead of debating what is a storm, we should look up what makes a "boat"?

Posted by MadMike on May 25, 2013 22:50

Editor Comment:

I am sure there are rules about that, too.

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gotta agree with ed ...this is not about seamanship 101, it is about the continued apathy of marine authorities toward the behavior of marine tour operators that borders on negligence.

Posted by David on May 26, 2013 02:53

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Sailor and Whistle-Blower:
Shame on you both: Such an event has nothing to do with the Beaufort Scale other than to show your total lack of knowledge of microscale meteorology on a local basis.
Duping the public about wind scales etc. taken from a book can mistakenly lead to catastrophes such as this, and perhaps is the reason inexperienced operators take their boats to sea, even against official weather warnings from the people who know.
Neither of you seem to know about atmospheric inversion. This phenomenon occurs when the inversion separates two atmospheric layers each with a different wind direction. The wind then can whip up a considerable localized wave squall causing havoc with small boats. The strengths of winds offshore are nearly double the wind speeds observed onshore and cannot be measured on the Beaufort scale. This is attributed to the differences in friction between land masses and offshore waters. Sometimes, there are even directional differences, particularly if local sea breezes change the wind on shore during daylight hours. This is all too common in the tropics, locally, this science would be called Microscale meteorology.

Posted by Pete on May 26, 2013 06:38

Editor Comment:

There does seem to be a lot of wind.

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"So it is not just tour operators who are foolish. Tourists also have a responsibility for not putting their own lives in jeopardy by researching the risks that nature poses when they are lured by low Low Season prices."
No. Tour operators are responsible, not tourists who know nothing of the local circumstances. The tour operator has to make the decision to cancel the tour or continue/start as scheduled, and is responsible for it.

Posted by stevenl on May 26, 2013 06:46

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"There does seem to be a lot of wind".

A somewhat flatulent comment Ed on a serious subject. Go read about Downbursts and you might learn more. Just as pilots receive feed-back and warnings on wind shear and microbursts, so should small time sailors accustom themselves to microscale meteorological effects and downbursts.

Posted by Pete on May 26, 2013 07:49

Editor Comment:

My comment was directed at Sailor and Whistle Blower, Pete. They are the ones rushing to pedantry and hot air in seeking to hijack a serious issue with meaningless information. Tourism safety and security is our top priority and your comments have helped to deflect the wind emanating from Sailor and Whistle Blower.

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Editor Comment: My comment was directed at Sailor and Whistle Blower, Pete. They are the ones rushing to pedantry and hot air in seeking to hijack a serious issue with meaningless information. Tourism safety and security is our top priority and your comments have helped to deflect the wind emanating from Sailor and Whistle Blower.

Sorry Ed but my experience in boating with my own boat in the Andman Sea starts in 1985 and before that I was sailing since 15 years on week-end and summer holidays from France in the Atlantic Ocean between Spain and Irland with sometime gales and gusts at more than 100km and got stuck in true storms with wages higher than 3-floors building.

By the way, all true foreign sailors living in Phuket know very well the sea and would not venture to risk to lose their boats even for money as the risk is not worth.

Unfortunately, Thai people at large have no knowledge about boating and you can look at all regattas in Thailand...no Thais onboard any vessels excepted the captain's girlfriend.

Thais owning long-tail boats, Thai captains driving speed-boats and small powered tour boats, know the sea by experience and navigate only in front of their home where knew islands are visible but are unable to sail on chart and compass to unknown destinations such as foreign countries excepted few captain on ocean fishing vessels.

In the case of smashed long-tail-boats and speed-boats in Krabi, Thai captains were playing the game it would be OK and SAFE to keep the boats anchored in front the beaches and by laziness, they did not move their boats into a nearby klong to protect their properties; so they have to blame themselves indeed.

The main problem in the Andaman Sea is they are no Marine Training School and all boat captains get their licenses by paying a fee to Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut, chief of the Marine Department Region 5 Office. It is done the same way as car & moto driving licenses; so those captains may have dangerous attitudes in unkonw situations as they were not trained to cope it in a true Marine Training School.

In my opinion, Phuket consuls, at the meeting on June with Phuket Governors, should ask that Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut, chief of the Marine Department Region 5 Office requires from Bangkok, a budget to open a Marine Training School to train boat captains working in the tourism industry as the only one in Thailand is in Samuk Prakan.
MERCHANT MARINE TRAINING CENTRE 120 Moo 7 Soi 6 municipalities (some of her fear), Sukhumvit Road, Bang Duan, Muang Samut Prakan 10,270. phones: 02 756 49 71/0 Website: http://www.mmtc.ac.th/

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 26, 2013 10:13

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#Whistle-Blower:
Gosh, Whistle-Blower if I received wages higher than 3-floors building I'd have my own Super Yacht with a professional captain!
I somehow doubt that all true foreign sailors living on Phuket, let alone the Thai captains could foresee the formation of an inversion layer or downburst prior to 30 minutes of it happening. Could you with all you experience in tropical waters? No and neither could Sailor blowing around on his windsurfer.

Posted by Pete on May 26, 2013 13:04

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Small craft warnings are issued in the USA for winds between 22 to 33 knots. 50 km/ph is 27 knots. A small craft is considered to be less than 65 feet or almost 20 meters in length. Longtail boats are not very seaworthy in the first place, and to take them out it squall conditions and you are just asking for trouble.

Posted by Jim McGowan on May 26, 2013 13:07

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With this kind of situation happening time and time again, and I guess us doomsayers believe it will happen again and again, Why doesn't Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut do something about, I think us doomsayers know why. The theme of "Gilligans Island" should be played at all departure piers.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 26, 2013 14:14

Editor Comment:

Khun Phuripat has no involvement with events in Krabi. He is based on Phuket. Thailand is divided into provinces, Phuket_IOC. You should praise Khun Phuripat: there were no reports of problems on Phuket.

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Ed, what you say is true, but he is responsible for the boats that leave Phuket, therefore when rough weather is forecast, he should be stopping them from leaving. His inaction jeopardises the lives of the tourists.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 26, 2013 15:21

Editor Comment:

He would probably tell you, as he's said in the past, that the issue of whether to put to sea is up to individual boat ''captains.'' Unless the regulations change, that will remain the case. What's needed are harbormasters at places including Chalong and a couple of other large tourist departure points.

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What a load of bollocks about the wind, I began to see double after one paragraph of the twaddle about the beaufort wind scale, the problem is greed always greed, never mind the tourists, this is why the boats got smashed up. Anybody really think that the captains take time to find out about the weather?

Posted by Simon on May 26, 2013 15:36

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doesnt a breeze just make a flag flutter?
These captains go out in any weather
solly no refunds.

Posted by slickmelb on May 27, 2013 01:13

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I should think that these 'Captains' are under serious pressure from vessel/company owners to sail. Take the boat out or we find someone else to take the boat out!!

Posted by Geoff on May 27, 2013 20:21


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