TOURISTS began returning to Phuket’s Chalong pier since early this morning (July 8, 2018) to set forth on trips to Andaman Sea islands despite a boat having capsized last Thursday killing 41 Chinese holidaymakers with 15 still missing, Thai News Agency reported.
After being quiet for a couple of days because the Marine Office in Phuket had issued a temporary suspension of marine navigation when Phoenix diving boat carrying 105 people, 93 tourists and 12 crew members and a guide sank on Thursday evening, tourists again set off on trips mainly to Koh Hae, Koh Mai Thon and Koh Racha islands.
That same day another boat, Sereniga capsized between Koh Hae and Koh Mai Thon, but all 41 mainly European tourists were rescued. Also saved were a Russian couple who had disappeared while jet skiing off Koh Racha.
The Marine Office in Phuket yesterday issued another announcement warning all boat owners and operators to be very careful in going out to sea during July 7-12, 2018, with small boats forbidden from doing so. This is so because the Meteorological Department warned that the winds and waves in the Andaman Sea and upper part of Gulf of Thailand are still strong with waves being 2 to 3 meters high in the former.
Mr Nikorn Praphakityothpath, managing director Nikorn Marine company, said after the suspension was lifted because the winds and waves are now less strong, tourists have again started going out to sea.
“Just today we took around 400 to 500 tourists who had booked in advance and opted to go on sea trips; this is because most boat capsizes involve the Chinese,” he said.
Top: Tourists in Phuket going on island tours. Photo: Thai News Agency