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Vol. XV No. 20
Friday May 18 - May 24, 2007

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

Weather Update

NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha presides over ceremonies to sanctify Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada images

Pattaya citizens stunned!

Walk-Run rally set for Visakha Bucha Day

Sea defense system goes over projected budget

Police find underage staff at South Pattaya bars

Towel clad damsel, tracks down British rogue who assaulted and robbed her

Transvestites pick pockets for drug money

German man found dead in kitchen of his house

French woman has purse stolen in tailor shop

City to launch sports club for youngsters

Sukhumvit upgrades are costing 500M baht says Ronakit

Navy sends water supplies to Koh Larn

Emergency meeting held to solve drainage problems along railroad tracks

‘Do something about the cluttered sidewalks’ says Sanit

Sea turtle heads for record in egg laying

Navy fires Exocet missile in ocean maneuvers

Baywatch

Laughter – universal language during joint operations

Multilateral medical effort eases pain of locals


HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha presides over ceremonies to sanctify Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada images

HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha performs religious ceremonies to consecrate the Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada images.

Vimolrat Singnikorn
On behalf of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vachiralongkorn, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha presided over the ceremony of chanting holy prayers from the scriptures and sprinkling water on the revered Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada as a sign of homage to His Majesty the King and to commemorate the auspicious occasion of the 60th anniversary of His accession to the throne.
The ceremonies organized by the Ha Thanwa (5 December) Maharaja Foundation were held at the Ban Sukawadee Auditorium in Banglamung District on April 28.
As last year was a year of rejoicing marking 60 years of HM the King’s accession to the throne, the foundation undertook a task of casting a golden image of Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada over the period of June 5-8, 2006. The 800 baht (weight), 60 cms high gold image was presented to HM the King and is now placed at the temple of the Emerald Buddha.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Vachiralongkorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Srirasmi, Royal Consort to the Crown Prince, were present at the casting of the golden Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada Buddha image on June 5 at the ceremonial grounds of Sanam Luang, and for the Sacred Merit Making on September 11 at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
As 2007 is the auspicious year in which His Majesty the King will celebrate his 80th birthday, the Ha Thanwa Maharaja Foundation cast another 9 replicas of Somdej Phra Navamindra Sasada. Having held ceremonies to consecrate the images they would be presented to HM the King for further presentation to 9 Royal temples.
At the ceremony HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha gave out mementos to people who supported the organizing of the ceremony.

Dr. Jarin Suankaew, Chairman of Ha Thanwa Maharaja Foundation makes his report to the HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha.


Pattaya citizens stunned!

No connecting pipeline from Bangpakong River into Mab Prachan reservoir

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
At a meeting of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, (PBTA) early this month, members of the association, including a room full of residents and business people of Pattaya were stunned to learn that there was still no connecting water pipeline to bring water from the Bangpakong River to the Mab Prachan reservoir.

Chanyuth Hengtrakul, former MP of Chonburi Province
The PBTA met on May 9 at Green Park Resort, chaired by Jamroon Wisawachaipan with representatives from the Royal Irrigation Department, the Pattaya Waterworks Authority, and East Water Co Ltd attending, where it was reported that the project to install water pipelines from the Bangpakong River to Nongkoh and Bangpra reservoirs had been completed.
It was also reported that a water pipeline from the Nongplalai and Dokkrai reservoirs in Rayong Province to the Nong Kor Reservoir was also completed and operational which meant that Nong Kor had enough reserves to support demand for water in the Chonburi Province area.
East Water Co Ltd, which manages and operates raw water distribution pipeline systems in the Eastern Seaboard areas, has also laid a pipeline from the Bangpra Reservoir to the Nongklangdong Reservoir and the Naklua Water Filtration Station.
“But that’s where it stops.” exclaimed the chairman of the PBTA. “There is no pipeline to bring water further to the Mab Prachan Reservoir.”

Jamroon Wisawachaipan, President of PBTA
He continued, “At present the Mab Prachan reservoir is connected by a pipeline to the Chaknok, Huaykhunjit and Huaysapan reservoirs, with no connecting pipeline, so therefore we are back to where we were and that is our only source of water is to wait for rain, just like before.”
He urged the authorities to take a closer look at Mab Prachan Reservoir, saying that even though reserves in the seven reservoirs of Chonburi Province are consistent, there are no connecting pipelines from the other reservoirs to Mab Prachan, and “this is cause for concern.”
Boonsom Yutithampinyo, of the Chonburi Royal Irrigation Department, said that the amount of untreated water currently available for the entire province is sufficient. The latest survey, dated May 9, showed a total reserve of 92 million cubic meters, compared with the same date last year, which had only 69 million cubic meters of water. In 2005, there was a sever drought when there was only 36 million cubic meters.
“The capacity of all seven reservoirs is however 180 million cubic meters of water, which is quite adequate” he said, “but we need better management of our storage reserves.”

Mr. Preecha Chimkua, manager of the Water Service Department of East Water’s Chachoengsao- Chon Buri Operations Center and Ekasit Ngampiches, GM Grand Solé Hotel.
Thanee Thongprachom, manager of the Pattaya Waterworks Authority said that in the past there was a system at the Banglamung Filtration Station to pump water to the Mab Prachan reservoir, but that the equipment was antiquated and had deteriorated so much that it was not functional anymore.
He said that it would require cooperation between the government authorities to remedy this. He recommended Pattaya City hold future meetings to discuss this matter.
Chanyuth Hengtrakul, former MP for Chonburi, said that Pattaya’s population currently consumes an average of 130 thousand cubic meters of water every day, and the volume is increasing as the city grows.

Mr. Boonsom Yutithampinyo, Chonburi Royal Irrigation Department officer.
Currently, East Water provides more than 50 percent of the untreated water, and the remainder is from the Mab Prachan and Chaknok reservoirs. These reservoirs depend on water from natural resources, so when there is a drought a water shortage would re-occur.
Chanyuth said, “For the last couple of years, there had been excitement at the assurance that the pipeline between Bangpra Reservoir and the Naklua Water Filtration Station would ensure that Mab Prachan would also receive water, but unfortunately that didn’t materialize.”
“Currently, the Naklua Water Filtration Station is closed for service, but when made functional again, the pipeline could be used for filling up and storing water at Mab Prachan Reservoir.
“This could solve the problem for the long term. The project would require a budget of more than 200 million baht.”
Chanyuth assured everyone that he would contact the provincial governor’s office in Chonburi and ask for an emergency budget to remedy the situation.
Chanyuth added that in the long term, water pipes could be laid from the water storage area in Chachoengsao, running from the Phra-ongchao Chaiyanuchit Canal to the Nongkor Reservoir for further transfer to the Mab Prachan Reservoir. This method would ensure the flow of millions of cubic meters of water every year. This would however be a major project, he said, “but can be done.”


Walk-Run rally set for Visakha Bucha Day

Wanwadee Wongwan
Pattaya City will stage a Walk-Run rally to mark Visakha Bucha Day on May 31.
Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon chaired a meeting on May 8 at Pattaya City Hall, with chairman of the Walk-Run for Health committee Anupong Udomrattanakulchai and other organizers present.

Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has designated May 31 each year as Lord Buddha Day, the day that the Buddha was born, became enlightened and ascended to Nirvana.
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation and Federation Health Running Club of Thailand is organizing the Walk-Run rally at venues throughout Thailand on this date.
Pattaya’s Walk-Run will start in front of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Office Region 3 on May 31 at 4:00pm.
Distance to be covered is 6 kilometers, with participants ending at Chaimongkol Temple in South Pattaya with lit candles in hand. Estimates are that about 300 people will take part. Entrants pay 100 baht per person, and everyone will receive a Buddhachinaracha Image coin. There will also be shirts for souvenirs.
Anyone interested in attending can receive more information at the Federation Health Running Club of Thailand tel 02 455 9148, or 081 642 3063 and 081 658 4708.


Sea defense system goes over projected budget

Narisa Nitikarn
As much as 188 million baht may be required to develop a coastal defense system for Pattaya and Koh Larn, an amount that is higher than the agreed figure, according to the consultants on the project.

Apichart Puetpan, deputy permanent secretary of Pattaya City.
The cost estimate follows on from a meeting held at Pattaya City Hall on March 21 of this year between Sittiparp Muangkoom, permanent secretary of Pattaya City, and Tesco Co Ltd, who are consultants to the Office Concerning Safety at Sea, to discuss the installation of high-tech equipment for marine safety.
The project is divided into two parts. One part includes the construction of a command center building near the helipad at Bali Hai Pier, and another at Koh Larn. The five existing rescue centers in Pattaya would be upgraded by installing a computer system to provide information to visitors, and maps would be installed at a total of 20 locations, 11 in Pattaya and nine on Koh Larn.
The second part of the project involves the installation of buoy tie boats at 75 locations to protect natural resources, and a series of buoys to check water currents and monitor the level of the sea. There would be one set at Koh Larn and one set at Pattaya Beach, and they would send the information to the command center at Bali Hai Pier.
There would be GPS equipment in every installation. SOS equipment to call for assistance would be installed at 50 locations, 45 along the coast of Pattaya and five at Koh Larn. Radar would be installed at the Bali Hai Pier command center for monitoring purposes, transmitting information on the direction of boats or the location of an accident. Training for the officers manning the command center and other installations would be provided.
A further meeting has now been held at Pattaya City Hall between Apichart Puetpan, deputy secretary and representatives from the Tesco Company.
Tesco have said that the 188 million baht budget that is being requested for this project is too high, being some 8 million baht more than was originally set. Apichart said that the consultants must decide on the equipment to be used, and that cost savings would have to be made by cutting expenses on materials rather than reducing the scale of the project.
The Tesco representative said that all the estimates are now in and accounted for. Tesco has been engaged under a 1.9 million baht fee to consult on this project.


Police find underage staff at South Pattaya bars

Boonlua Chatree
An inspection of entertainment outlets in South Pattaya by the assistant district chief of Banglamung and officers from Pattaya Police Station has revealed that many of the staff members were under the legal age for working in licensed premises.
The search was undertaken during the night of May 9-10 by assistant district chief Pongsasit Pitajinan and Pol Lt Col Santi Chainiramai along with a team of officers, following reports that many outlets were operating illegally and allowing underage people onto the premises.
The officers were divided into two teams, one of which searched the bars of Sunee Plaza, noted for its gay go-go bars and beer bars. Police checked the ID cards of more than 60 staff members and found that 19 of them were under the age of 20. Drug tests were performed and licenses of the outlets checked. It was found that 10 outlets were providing service illegally.
The other team searched the beer bars in South Pattaya and found that many of them were operating without legal documentation. The owners of some of the bars were arrested.
Pongsasit claimed that complaints had been received from tourists that many beer bars and other entertainment establishments were operating without a license, and that they were employing staff members who were under the age of 20. Police have ordered that the offending outlets be closed for 30 days, and that the owners of those without licenses apply for the necessary documentation.


Towel clad damsel, tracks down British rogue who assaulted and robbed her

Motorbike taxi driver rides to the rescue

Theerarak Sutthatiwongse
A British man has been charged with assaulting a bar girl and stealing her money, after taking her to a hotel room for sex.
Pattaya Police Station received a report at 1:00am on May 5 that a foreign man suspected of theft had been pursued into a public restroom at the beginning of Soi Yamato on Pattaya Beach Road.

Ratchanee, still wrapped in a bath towel, identifies the rogue who assaulted and robbed her.
Arriving at the scene, officers found members of the public detaining Benjamin Gardner, a 28-year-old British national. Ms Ratchanee Wansu, a 33-year-old resident of Nakhorn Srithammaraj Province, who worked as a service girl at a bar on Walking Street, was standing wearing a white towel tied at her chest and pointing at the accused thief. Her neck had green bruise marks on it.
Upon searching the restroom, police found evidence consisting of a 1-baht gold bracelet and a purse containing 1,500 baht. The officers invited the victim to Pattaya Police Station to file a report.
Ratchanee said that she was on her way to work and as she arrived at the entrance to Walking Street the accused had come up and invited her to have sex with him for a fee. She agreed and followed him to a hotel on Pattaya Beach Road.
He told her to take a shower, so she took her clothes off and tied a towel around her chest. Before she could go into the bathroom, Gardner came up behind her and put her in a headlock. He threw her on the bed, slapped her, and grabbed her throat. She was not able to fight him off, so she pretended to be unconscious. Gardner then took her gold bracelet and her purse that contained money, and ran from the room. Ratchanee, still clad in her towel, ran outside and shouted for help. Natee Sukplem, 38, a motorbike taxi driver at the entrance to the soi, witnessed the incident. He pursued the accused and was able to detain him.
Gardner confessed to assaulting Ratchanee and stealing her property, saying he had no money. However, upon searching him, police found cash in Gardner’s pocket totaling ten thousand baht. Police also checked his passport and found it didn’t have an immigration stamp.
Gardner has been charged with assault, theft, and being an illegal alien. Police are also checking his records thoroughly to see if they can unearth any other misdemeanors.


Transvestites pick pockets for drug money

He three katoeys confess to robbing the British national in Soi 13.

Theerarak Sutthatiwongse
A gang of transvestites intent on raising money to buy ya ba pills (amphetamines) picked the pocket of a British tourist when they approached him and offered their sexual services.
Pol Col Sutin Sappuang, superintendent of Pattaya Police Station, led a team of officers to the Pattaya Beach Road area after receiving a report that ladyboys were stealing from foreign tourists at the Pattaya Beach Condominium parking lot in Soi 13.
At the scene police found the victim, a 33-year-old British national. He stated that as he parked his car and was going to his room, three transvestites approached him and propositioned him for sex. They embraced him, but he refused them and walked away. After that he inspected his pockets and noticed that his wallet containing a total of 16,000 baht, and his Sony mobile telephone were missing.
Police traced the three suspects to room number 301 at Pho Residence on Chalermprakiat Road, Soi 8. They were identified as Sarawuth Lordngern or May, 23, Kiattisak Maichornklang or Daeng, 30, and Somporn Sritha or Porn, 28. They confessed to the theft, saying they wanted to buy some ya ba. They said that because it was raining they were not able to go out and solicit sex on the beach. Therefore they didn’t have enough money, and came up with a plan to pick pockets.


German man found dead in kitchen of his house

Boonlua Chatree
An elderly German man found dead in a house at Parkrungrueng Village, Soi Khaonoi on May 9, died from slitting his own wrist.
Police and Sawang Boriboon Foundation rescuers called out to the single-story property found the body of 74-year-old Edgar Erwin Eckert lying face down in the kitchen. They estimated he had been dead for five days. His right wrist had been cut by a sharp implement, but no other wounds were found on his body, and there were no signs of him having been assaulted.
Mrs Rapeepan Suksiri, the 27-year-old owner of the house, said that the deceased had rented the property for five years at 4,500 a month. However, he hadn’t paid the rent for two consecutive months. She went to investigate, but received no reply when she called his name from the front of the house. The front door wasn’t locked, so she entered and found her tenant dead in the kitchen.
Panom Pisa, 41, a neighbor stated that the deceased was a recluse. He liked drinking beer, and in the past there had been many ladies staying at the house. However, the last woman had moved almost everything out, and left the deceased to be alone. There was no one there to take care of him.
From their initial inquiries police have assumed that the deceased possibly was in a serious state, so he had used a knife to slit his wrist and perhaps he went into shock and died. An autopsy is to be conducted at the police forensic institute.


French woman has purse stolen in tailor shop

Theerarak Sutthatiwongse
A French woman shopping for fabrics had her purse stolen by two customers in the shop.
The incident happened during the afternoon of May 3, when Pattaya Police Station received a report that a theft had taken place at a tailor shop in Walking Street.
Arriving at the scene officers found Mrs Lefevre Valerie, a 39-year-old French citizen. She told police that she and her husband have lived in Thailand for approximately five years, and stay at a condominium on Thappraya Mountain Road in South Pattaya. Her husband works as an engineer at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.
She had gone to the shop to select some fabric for making pants for her husband. She laid her pink purse on the table inside the shop. It contained a total of 16,000 baht, a bunch of keys, credit cards, and documents. After that she walked around to select fabric that was on display on the shelves. When she looked back at the table to collect her purse to pay money, it was gone.
Shop manager Pramesh Kumar, said that as he was standing and advising the customer on the fabrics he noticed two men enter the store. One of them was wearing a blue T-shirt and a cap, and looked like a soldier. They separated and walked around looking like they would select some fabric. He ordered his employee in the shop to welcome them, but neither of them bought anything and hurried to leave. He suspected that the men had taken the victim’s purse.
The police radioed other officers in the direction that they expected the thieves had fled, but they were not able to find them.


City to launch sports club for youngsters

Vimolrat Singnikorn
A futsal training center has been opened in the premises of Pattaya School No 7. Announcing the opening on May 2, Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon said the purpose was to train the trainers, with specialists from the Office of Sports and Recreation Development acting as instructors.

Wattana Chantanawaranon, Deputy Mayor of Pattaya City presented a training kit to all the participants.
The center was away to a good start, with 40 teachers and employees associated with Pattaya City attending the first session.
Pradit Thongchai, a recreation officer with Pattaya City, said that in the near future Pattaya would launch a special sports club for youngsters with activities such as futsal, swimming, tennis, aerobics, petanque and soccer available. The project is designed to attract more of Pattaya’s youth to take part in organized sports and games, and to train those with ability to regional and international level.
The club will start accepting memberships in June. City hall will provide part of the budget, with the balance coming from membership fees, which will be paid annually.


Sukhumvit upgrades are costing 500M baht says Ronakit

City hall is spending almost 500 million baht on upgrading Sukhumvit Road, the main artery into Pattaya.

200 Hi-Mast street light poles will increase the illumination on Sukhumvit Road.
(inset) Ronakit Ekasingh, Deputy Mayor.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, whose brief includes the city’s public utilities, says that the plan is to improve the flow of the traffic and also to beautify the highway to improve the image of Pattaya as an international resort.
The upgrading involves 14 kilometers of Sukhumvit and involves a budget of 477 million baht.
There are four main components to the plan. Under an expenditure of 150 million baht, the number of highway lanes is being increased from three to four, along with the provision of a sidewalk. Another 150 million baht will see the installation of about 200 high-mast streetlights along the route. The planting of trees and shrubs along the median, together with sprinklers and rainwater traps is costing another 77 million baht. The remaining 100 million baht will be spent on traffic engineering and signboarding to accommodate the expansion to four lanes.
Ronakit said that this total amount is substantial, but the result should be an impressive and efficient approach highway for visitors to the city. The deputy mayor added that it is estimated income from tourists to Pattaya is approximately 5 billion baht per year. Compared to this, a budget of 500 million baht for desperately needed improvements is not an unreasonable amount.

Trees and flowers are planted along the median on Sukhumvit Road.


Navy sends water supplies to Koh Larn

Demand on the popular tourist island more than supply

Patcharapol Panrak
Koh Larn is facing a problem with drought, and community chief Kamneun Chaweerueng has sent to a formal request to the Royal Thai Navy at Sattahip asking for help.

A navy barge laden with water docks at the Koh Larn pier.
The letter was sent to Vice Admiral Jamnong Kittipeerachon, commander-in-chief of the First Fleet and director of the Disaster Relief Center at the Royal Thai Navy.
Vice Admiral Jamnong sent the HTMS Ravi, under the command of Lt Pinit Thapla, to the island with a consignment of 100,000 liters of water. The vessel docked at Laemtien Pier and its crew unloaded the water into tanks at Naban Beach. Another 300,000 liters was sent by boat from Bali Hai Pier.
Sutham Petchket, director of the Pattaya City Office at Koh Larn said that although this is now the rainy season, demand in Koh Larn is high and water needs to be kept in reserve.

Navy personnel replenish the water tanks on Koh Larn.
The island has a total area of 3,500 rai and an official population of 2,500, together with a large unofficial population. Approximately 70,000 Thai and foreign tourists cruise over to Koh Larn each year from the Pattaya coast, and the numbers are increasing, so water is an increasingly precious commodity, said Sutham.
Somboon Sriwattana, advisor to the head of the Koh Larn community said that the water supplied by the Navy would be allocated to those who have supply problems. At present, he said, rainwater is providing enough for immediate needs but would not solve the long-term problem.

Hundreds of tourists cross over to Koh Larn daily to enjoy the sea, sand and sun.


Emergency meeting held to solve drainage problems along railroad tracks

Narisa Nitikarn
Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn held an urgent meeting on May 8 at Pattaya City Hall to discuss a water drainage system for the new east-west road being built alongside the railway line.

Sittiparp Muangkoom, (left) Permanent Secretary of Pattaya City and mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn hold discussions on building the drainage system.
Permanent secretary of Pattaya City Sittiparp Muangkoom and a representative from Consultant Engineering Co Ltd also attended the meeting.
Niran said that the road, which runs alongside the railway on both sides for 16 kilometers, faces problems of flooding because the ground slopes, and nearby residences suffer damage.
Consulting Engineering Co has surveyed the area and suggests building water channels between the road and the railway on both sides, which would collect the water that comes from higher elevations, so that four pumping stations along a 7-kilometer stretch could be used to divert it.
The engineering representative said that a more intensive survey should be undertaken to see if another solution involving a total of 10 pumping stations along the full 16 kilometers would be feasible.
The meeting was unable to reach a firm conclusion, because the road is still under construction and the full implications need to be studied. In addition to deciding on the form and the materials of the drainage system, permission would need to be granted by the State Railway of Thailand, which has regulations regarding expansion of the railway system.


‘Do something about the cluttered sidewalks’ says Sanit

Narisa Nitikarn
Pattaya City Council Sanit Boonmachai has urged city hall to do something about the large number of advertisement boards on the sidewalks, especially along Central Pattaya Road and on Third Road, between North and Central Pattaya.

Sanit Boonmachai displays pictures of the sorry state of affairs on the beach area.
Sanit’s complaint was aired at Pattaya City Hall on May 9, when he chaired a meeting of the committee for administration and preservation of the peace. Also present was city councilor Farooq Wongborisuthi.
Although there are regulations concerning the blocking of the footpaths, said Sanit, there is little enforcement of them. This applies also to the vendors who line many of the sidewalks in prime areas, and take up public space on busy thoroughfares.
“The signboards and the vendors on the sidewalks spoil the image of the city,” said Sanit, adding that there appeared to be confusion between municipal officers and the police as to whose responsibility it was to enforce the regulations.
During the meeting, the committee also heard that 50 million baht was spent on the project to improve the landscaping at Pattaya Beach, but that the laying of the storm drains had caused damage to the appearance of the seafront, and that a further 10 million baht was needed.


Sea turtle heads for record in egg laying

Patcharapol Panrak
A female turtle has surprised Royal Thai Navy conservationists by what is believed to be a new record in egg laying.

Officials keep vigil as mother turtle lays her latest batch of eggs for an all time record.
The turtle has been to the Sattahip Bay beach behind the residence of the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy seven times in the past four months, and has laid a total of 817 eggs.
Personnel have checked her microchip, and discovered this turtle laid eggs for the first time on Sattahip beach in 2004. Royal Thai Navy officers had released her into the wild in 1992.
Rear Admiral Chaiwat Sriakkharin, commander of Air and Coastal Defense Command received a report from Captain Kosit Jiamsupakit, director of Air and Coastal Defense Command and his deputy, Captain Tinakorn Kanchanataemee that the turtle was being monitored.
The Sea Turtle Conservation Center said the turtle’s microchip reveals that she had laid eggs a total of four times in 2004. This year she has been back on seven occasions. On February 21 she laid 119 eggs, and on March 9 a total of 118 eggs. On March 21 a total of 129 eggs were laid, on March 31 there were 100 eggs, on April 15 another 100 eggs were laid, on April 23 a further 123 eggs were laid, and on May 4 she laid 128 eggs, making a grand total of 817 eggs.
Rear Admiral Chaiwat said that female turtles would generally lay eggs four times in one cycle over four years. Conservation Center experts are predicting there are more to come from this female, saying that she could total 10 layings in this cycle.


Navy fires Exocet missile in ocean maneuvers

An Exocet missile is fired from the HTMS Witayakhom.

The ground shudders as the heavy artillery guns are fired.

Patcharapol Panrak
Navy maneuvers off the coast on April 27 included the firing of an Exocet missile at a target out at sea.
General Boonsrang Niumpradit, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces paid a formal visit to HTMS Chakrinaruebet, arriving by Navy aircraft. Also on board the vessel were Admiral Satiraphan Keyanon, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy, and his deputy Admiral Wichai Yuwananggoon, along with a group of commanders and high-ranking officers.
General Boonsrang and the other senior visitors spent the night on HTMS Chakrinaruebet, ready to observe the maneuvers the following day.
The main attack vessel for the firing of the Exocet missile was HTMS Witayakhom, with HTMS Racharit in support. General Boonsrang and Admiral Satiraphan witnessed the missile firing from a helicopter that took off from the Chakrinaruebet. The missile hit its prepared target, which exploded. The exercise was deemed a success.
Exocet missiles are installed on three fast attack naval vessels, namely the HTMS Witayakhom, HTMS Racharit and HTMS Udomdej. All three ships were constructed at the Cantiere Navale Breda Naval Shipyard in Italy. The Exocet is classified as a ground-to-ground weapon, with a maximum range of 42 kilometers or 22.5 nautical miles.
The same day, also saw the firing of 155mm shells from heavy artillery guns by the Coastal Defense Force Region 1 division under Air and Coastal Defense Command The gun was placed on the coast and fired at a target out at sea.


Baywatch: It’s in the pipeline

Narisa Nitikarn
The Pattaya Water Supply Office has been laying pipes throughout Pattaya, but the work seems to be taking a long time to complete. If you drive up from the South Pattaya-Second Road intersection towards Thappraya Hill, you will find a lot of traffic congestion as the excavation there takes up a complete lane of the road. Asked why the hole is being left open so long, the Pattaya Water Works Office said their pipes had been laid but the Public Health Department has decided to lay a drainage system there too. The Water Supply spokesperson said it was better that the two projects were completed together, because if the road were resurfaced now it would only have to be dug up again later.


Laughter – universal language during joint operations

Cpl. Mark Fayloga
They work side-by-side without a common language and at first there’s some difficulty. A request for a new tool is received with puzzled glances and shared silence, finally interrupted by an awkward shared laughter.
After a few days of interaction, a system is worked out. A shake of a hand one way or the other is a way of asking for more mortar or extra paint. A sailor turns to grab the requested item and accidentally knocks over a bucket of water; embarrassed, he turns to see if anyone noticed. Everyone in the group saw the blunder and again they share laughter, this time it’s only awkward for the clumsy sailor.
A detachment of approximately 20 Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 (Seabees), Naval Base Port Hueneme, Calif., along with an Engineer Battalion Royal Thai Marines are currently finishing up work on a multipurpose room, as well as several other side projects, at Wat Nong Grab Elementary School here.
This community relations project was one of 11 humanitarian/civic assistance projects taking place during Exercise Cobra Gold.  These projects are designed to improve interoperability and build friendly relations between the Pacific partner-nations responding to regional contingencies such as the multinational combined relief effort in support of those affected by the 2005 Tsunami.

Petty Officers 1st Class Suppachai Chaivinit (green shirt) and Wuttichai Harnkla, Thai Marines Engineers Battalion, apply a concrete base to a shrine as part of a side project at Wat Nong Grab Elementary School May 9.
A dedication ceremony for the building will be held May 18. The Seabees have been in Thailand for more than a month taking advantage of their time here to help out the local community while building a bond with their Thai counterparts.
“The biggest accomplishment of this deployment is we’re creating a friendship,” said Navy Lt. j.g. Marc S. Nelson, detachment officer-in-charge. “We’re providing an asset to the community. It’s something that will be here forever that was built by U.S. and Thai forces.”

Seaman Kathryn R. Henderson, builder, NMCB-3, and Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pallop Naewwab, Thai Marines Engineer Battalion, paint the trim on the stage of the new multipurpose room built by both services for Wat Nong Grab Elementary School May 9.
The building will last for many years and the friendship molded is sure to last just as long.
“The best thing about the entire operation is the interaction between the U.S. and Thailand,” said Thai Lt. j.g. Jirasak Wangworawottanshol, officer-in-charge, Engineers Battalion. “It’s not just building the buildings, but building the relationships between the Thai and U.S. militaries. We can use this time to share experiences and work together.”
Shared experiences were highly noticeable at the site as laughter could be heard from each joint team spread about the area.
“It’s rewarding being out here because you get to see another side of life,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Raymond E. Bruner, utilities man, NMCB-3. “It’s just fun working with them (Thai Marines). I like to come into work with them because I get a good laugh all day. The laughter makes the work easier, time goes by quick and it’s just been fun for me.”
Bruner, a Kansas City native, said he has especially enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in humanitarian work; a welcome break from his two previous deployments to Iraq. For another sailor, she couldn’t agree more.
“It’s why I joined,” said Seaman Kathryn R. Henderson, builder, NMCB-3. “Helping people out is the reason we’re here and it’s the most rewarding thing. It’s about the relationships we’re building and it’s been wonderful.”
Construction on the multipurpose building has gone so smoothly the Thais and Seabees have undertaken several side projects ranging from building a storage shed to landscaping.
The side projects have provided the two groups extra opportunities to share experiences as well as learn from one another.
“I’ve actually learned a lot from them,” said Bruner referring to two Thai Marines who are teaching him how to do concrete work around a shrine. “I’m a plumber.  So, I don’t know anything about doing stucco. I’m learning the building side of things from them.”
As Bruner describes working alongside and learning from his new Thai friends, almost out of habit, he uses hand signals. His Thai counterparts watch him as he speaks. When he returns to help them, teasingly they mimic his hand signals. All three laugh.

Seabees of Naval Mobile Constrction Battalion-3 (NMCB-3), Port Hueneme, Ca. (currently deployed to Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan) paint and add finishing touches to a school house in Ban Nong Krob, Thailand in support of Cobra Gold 2007. (USMC photo by Corporal Angela M. Hitchcock)


Multilateral medical effort eases pain of locals

Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks
Photos by Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks

Thai, U.S., Japanese and Singaporean doctors shared resources to provide medical assistance to the residents of Prachuab Khirikhan province at the Udomraj Pakdee School May 11, as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2007, a joint multilateral exercise focusing on enhancing security in the Southeast Region as well as providing humanitarian/civic assistance projects.
This humanitarian assistance project is one of 11 being conducted during the exercise. With medical check sheets in hand, each patient visited different stations for a full medical exam, including optometry, orthopedics, dental, physical therapy and a basic health care assessment.

Major Yasunori Mizuguchi, doctor, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, exams 12-year-old Mattaneya Tasanapardee, who was experiencing severe ear aches during the medical civil assistance program at the Udomraj Pakdee School.
Every ailment was treated, down to the smallest of aches and pains.
“It’s amazing what some of these people endure,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Ashcraft, hospital corpsman, Operation Hospital Support Unit, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Calif. “One man had a 10-year fracture that never properly healed and all he complained about was a little back pain caused by farm work. It really puts things in perspective.”
The project involved a large number of military doctors and nurses from the Pacific partner nations who treated more than 400 patients in just a few hours.
“There is no doubt these people are doing great things here today,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Stephen Maloney, deputy director, humanitarian/civic assistance projects.

 Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Bachman, doctor, Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, N.C., shows a Thai man physical therapy exercises to help the pain he had was experiencing. Many forms of medical treatment were available to the locals of Udomnatpako during the medical civil assistance program.

“We are absolutely out here to help the local community.” Maloney said this project, along with others conducted in the past weeks, is part of an overall theater security cooperation initiative. These projects are designed to foster ties between the Southeast Asian nations and prepare them for real-world contingencies such as the December 2004 tsunami relief effort.
“We are helping to provide the essential (military to military) relationship development that we need in the region,” he added. The medical assistance here provided Pacific partner nations a chance to work together in an operational environment and help people in need. “(It) feels great to help and learn from our partners and learn more about their cultures,” said Singapore Army Master Sgt. Tan Shaotheng. “This operation has been well organized and the flow has been smooth. It is very well done.” The medical professionals did not just treat the patients’ injuries, they also collected valuable data that was sent to local health care facilities and referred the patients for follow-on health care.
“Sure, we can help them here and now. But, we also need to be concerned about the follow-on care,” Maloney said. “The data collection is just as important as the medical care.” Those involved in the project continued working long into the hot and humid day, handing out eyeglasses to those who have never seen clearly, fitting the old with canes and checking the health and comfort of the young. Working with translators, the staff did not quit until the last person’s sheet had been filled out completely. The sentiment among the medical professionals was of not doing enough. Despite the language barrier, those receiving treatment smiled and laughed alongside their caregivers who came from all corners of the Pacific. Even those who were weakened from pain expressed their gratitude. “I think they appreciate our help,” Shaotheng said. “They need medical attention and we are happy to provide it for them.”

Thai translators assist the Pacific Partner medical staff in various tests including eye exams at a medical civil assistance program during the joint military exercise Cobra Gold 2007 at Udomnatpako, Thailand May 11.



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