A test run of the first ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin will be held late December before the launch of the service scheduled on January 1, said Mr Sorasak Saensombat, director-general of the Marine Department, on Monday.
Operated by Royal Passenger Liner, there are two trips a day with the first leaving the pier of the Fishery Organization at 8.30 am and the second leaving Pattaya’s Balihai pier at 3.30 pm. Each trip takes 1.40 hours. A Catamaran ferry will be used in the service and initially there will be just one vessel and the number will be increased to two tentatively next March.
The vessel has a cruising speed of 27 nautical miles and has the capacity to carry 150 passengers at a time.
Mr Sorasak said that the test run which will be free of charge was meant to test the seaworthiness and safety of the vessel.
He disclosed that Royal Passenger Liner had proposed the ticket price at 1,200 baht per trip, but the Marine Department was looking into the operational costs before announcing the actual price of the service.
The Catamaran ferry to be put into service on the route is a used vessel and is now being refurbished and equipped with facilities to meet the required standard. The work is expected to be completed by the end of this month after which the vessel will undergo seaworthiness test and safety test before it is to be registered.
Mr Sorasak said the department would grant a ten-year operating licence to the company and would assess the service every six months for the first two years, after that assessment would be conducted once a year.
He noted that, initially, the piers in Hua Hin and Pattaya might be a little congested to accommodate over 100 passengers at a time. Both piers will be expanded to cope with increased passengers.