Re: Overloaded ferry capsizes in Pattaya Bay, killing six (PM Monday, 04 November 2013) – I was appalled to learn of yesterday’s, ferry disaster (Sunday 3 November 13). Such a catastrophic and needless waste of life – yet, an ‘accident’ that has been waiting to be realised for years.
My wife and I have holidayed in Pattaya for nearly two decades and regularly make the crossing over to Koh Larn. During the last couple of years, however, and with the substantial rise in Russian tourists particularly, we have often commented on the manner in which holiday-makers, primarily families, are packed-in, on-board, like proverbial sardines.
During a trip to the island in March of this year, we actually started to count the number of Life Jackets, positioned aloft the seating area of the craft – we were horrified to discover that throughout the entire boat, only 97 persons could be catered for in the event of a crisis at sea. There were approximately 200 people on board that particular morning, to say nothing of the appalling reality that some of the jackets in question appeared singularly inappropriate for the purpose they were designed for, ergo; shabby, unclean and torn.
From this distressing deduction, it quickly dawned on me that our chosen mode of transport to Koh Larn was little more than a greed machine, a floating money-mechanism where passenger safety and wellbeing took second-place to the opportunistic and selfish operators whose sole interest lay with the tourist ‘bucks’ – and not that of the personal safety of its customers.
My sympathy goes out to all who have endured unbearable loss from this dreadful episode, may the Thai authorities now take positive steps to finally eradicate the insane and inexcusable bad practise by simply ‘throwing-the-book’ at the gluttonous and uncaring ferry operators. Their major crime is that of failing to look at the big picture, the ‘What-if’ rationale – so blatantly bereft in their baht-chasing, twisted and self-indulgent logic.
Gordon G. Kinghorn