Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived in Pattaya Tuesday afternoon, November 5, to be briefed on what had transpired during the tragic ferry accident on Sunday.
Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai explained that an overcrowded ferry operated by Koh Larn Travel and being captained by a man who confessed to being high on methamphetamines had run aground and capsized, killing six tourists; 3 Thais, 2 Polish and 1 Hong Kong Chinese. At least 15 others were injured, some seriously.
The look of concern shows on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Front row 3rd right) as officials explain what happened when an overcrowded ferry operated by Koh Larn Travel and being captained by a man who confessed to being high on methamphetamines capsized, killing six tourists; 3 Thais, 2 Polish and 1 Hong Kong Chinese.
A conference room was set up at the Siam Bayshore Hotel for officials to state their cases before the PM, and try to explain what measures were being taken to address the situation.
Somsak Saensombut, director-general of Marine Department, attempted to explain how he and the governor had met to “seriously brainstorm guidelines.”
After the accident, he said, the Marine Department issued an order to forbid Koh Lan Travel 1 to continue operating until all their vessels had passed inspection. They also took away the captain’s license for 6 months.
Yukol Limlaemthong, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, as acting Minister of Tourism and Sports, told the PM that, through the Chao Phaya Insurance CPL, deceased victims’ families were given 309,000 baht. He also said the insurance company will pay all hospital bills up to 100,000 baht.
Hundreds of red shirt members used the occasion to show their support for the amnesty bill.
After listening to these reports, Yingluck allegedly stated that she had come to the conclusion the public sector has implemented good safety measures for tourists, but “there has to be increased strictness in implementing or commanding the rules and increasing penalties for offenders. Laws may have to be issued in order to penalize the owner of the boat or operators not adhering to safety measures or not controlling one’s employees in following the safety procedures.”
Yingluck then was taken to Bali Hai pier to get an idea of where the accident took place, after which she visited some of the patients in hospital.
She was then whisked away to Sattahip to release turtles into the sea.
As a side note, hundreds of red shirt members used the occasion in Pattaya to show their support for the amnesty bill.