Dark irony as Pattaya, Marine Department lecture 100 boat operators on safety 24 hours before deadly speedboat crash


Less than 24 hours before two Chinese tourists would die in yet another speedboat accident, Pattaya city and Marine Department officials had met with more than 100 boat operators to again the stress the importance of safety.

The Aug. 27 meeting hosted by Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Marine Department Director Raewat Potriang and Marine Police Superintendent Col. Namaskarn Nikolhaeng actually had been the second such marine-safety meeting that week. On Aug. 21, Pattaya City Councilman Sanit Boonmachai, the president of the Pattaya Tour Boat Operators Club, met with operators at city hall to inspect boat registrations and captains’ licenses, as well as urge boat to keep their equipment well maintained.

Raewat Potriang, director of the Pattaya Marine Department, lectures boat owners on safety just 24 hours before the Aug. 28 deadly speedboat crash.Raewat Potriang, director of the Pattaya Marine Department, lectures boat owners on safety just 24 hours before the Aug. 28 deadly speedboat crash.

Apparently, the message of neither meeting reached the right ears.

On Aug. 28, two Chinese tourists died and eight were injured when their speedboat crashed into an anchored longtail boat off Bali Hai Pier. The boat driver, now arrested, steered his twin-engine craft too close to the empty glass-bottom boat, snagging its anchor line, causing it to smash into the longtail and eject half the passengers.

The Aug. 27 meeting was described as “training” for boat operators in fire prevention and control after a boat caught fire Aug. 18 about three kilometers off the Pattaya coast. No one was hurt, but Ronakit said the accident helped to reinforce a perception among foreign tourists that Pattaya’s beaches and seas are unsafe.

Proof that perception proved reality came less than a day later.

The training session covered traffic patterns in Pattaya and Koh Larn, maintenance and inspection of boats, preparation of safety equipment, the need to inform authorities of emergencies, fire extinguisher use, water rescue, and the prohibitions against boat crews abusing drugs and alcohol.

Only time will tell if any of the “training” took hold.

  • David Herd

    RUN & HIDE

    The great Joe Louis, a famous American heavyweight champion said these famous words before a bout in 1941, “you can run but you can’t hide”. Sadly here in Thailand we see many instances of the “run & hide” strategy. Apart from the horrific boat accident where two tourists died, a few months ago in Pattaya two speedboat drivers crashed causing injuries to a boatload of Chinese tourists, one lost his leg, naturally they used the “run & hide” strategy.

    Then we see the Red Bull heir brutally run down & kill a Bangkok policeman, then use the tried & true “run & hide” strategy. Recently four senior Bangkok policemen kidnap two Italian tourists and when apprehended two of them apply the “run & hide” strategy.

    We all shake our heads on seeing this cowardly behaviour then applaud when the perpetrators are brought to justice. We also hope after seeing justice applied that young Thais receive a positive lesson in life showing that running away from problems is not the answer.

    Any and all lessons however go down the drain when front pages of newspapers all around the world show a Thai Airways plane had skidded off the runway at Suvarnabhumi late last Sunday night which left 14 people injured, then some foolish executive decided to have workmen paint over the name and corporate logo on the aircraft in an effort to use the “run & hide” strategy. Now of course you can’t run with a damaged Airbus but you can try and hide.

    That single stupid reaction has sent one of the most negative messages about this wonderful country, not only to Thai youngsters who learn from their elders, but to people and businesses all over the world. The idiot responsible should be made to write 1000 times on a blackboard on a footpath beside the busiest intersection in Bangkok, “you can run but you can’t hide”.

  • The first time I saw a companies Logo painter over
    was on a visit to America in 1989. The Logos were on a “Greyhound Bus” that had just crashed.
    A few years ago when a Geruda Plane crashed they removed the whole Tailplane.The practice has been around for years, nothing
    sinister, just good PR.