Deputy Prime Minister Yukol Limamthong joined city officials and police in a snap inspection of Koh Larn marine operators aimed at ending Pattaya’s string of deadly boat accidents.
Yukol was joined by Chonburi Deputy Gov. Kwan Sukul, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Royal Thai Police advisor Gen. Wuthi Liptapanlop on the Nov. 28 tour, which reviewed ferry operators, drug tested boat captains, checked passenger loads and confirmed that adequate numbers of safety equipment were aboard.
Deputy Prime Minister Yukol Limamthong addresses a gathering of police officials and expats before beginning his inspections of local watercraft.
The high-profile inspection stood in stark contrast to how Pattaya boat operators worked before this month when an overloaded ferry capsized Nov. 3 killing seven and injuring dozens more. In that case, the boat captain was high on methamphetamines and the ferry carried too few life vests.
The deputy prime minister also presided over the ceremony to initiate new signage for water craft accessing Bali Hai Pier.
“Pattaya receives more than 9 million tourists a year. We don’t want to spoil its reputation, so the increase of safety inspections to prevent the lost of life and belongings are important,” Yukol said. He added that the safety crackdown will focus on strict enforcement, increasing accident prevention and enlisting the cooperation of beach vendors and boat operators.
Wuthi said the formal investigation into the Nov. 3 accident is continuing and that more than 100 people have been interviewed. The witnesses confirmed that the boat was severely overcrowded, he said. He added that staff schedules for the new Marine Security Center also have been drafted.