Transport Ministry orders Marine Department shakeup

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There are more than 1,000 speedboats operating in the Pattaya area, as well as almost 500 jet skis. A top Transport Ministry official ordered an immediate reorganization of the Marine Department and retraining of rescue workers in the wake of the April boat accident that injured 18 South Korean tourists, along with a Korean and Thai guide.

Transport Ministry deputy orders Marine Department shakeup after April speedboat collision

A top Transport Ministry official ordered an immediate reorganization of the Marine Department and retraining of rescue workers in the wake of the April boat accident that injured 18 South Korean tourists, along with a Korean and Thai guide.

In an April 23 meeting at Pattaya City Hall, Deputy Minister Prasert Jantharawongthong promised a review of marine-transport regulations and integration of services, vowing to return later this month to check progress.

There are more than 1,000 speedboats operating in the Pattaya area, as well as almost 500 jet skis. A top Transport Ministry official ordered an immediate reorganization of the Marine Department and retraining of rescue workers in the wake of the April boat accident that injured 18 South Korean tourists, along with a Korean and Thai guide. There are more than 1,000 speedboats operating in the Pattaya area, as well as almost 500 jet skis. A top Transport Ministry official ordered an immediate reorganization of the Marine Department and retraining of rescue workers in the wake of the April boat accident that injured 18 South Korean tourists, along with a Korean and Thai guide.

Appearing with Sornsak Saensombat, director-general of the Marine Department, Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Chonburi Permanent Secretary Chawalit Saeng-Uthai, Prasert told boat operators from Pattaya, Jomtien and Koh Larn beaches that, within 15 days, registrations for all boats would have to be updated and licenses for captains checked.

Licenses were not the problem in the April 21 collision of two speedboats off Koh Larn’s Tawaen Beach: Both Amnuay Kladkhemthong and Rung-arun Homlamduan held valid paperwork.

Deputy Transport Minister Prasert Jantharawongthong has ordered a shakeup of the Marine Department.Deputy Transport Minister Prasert Jantharawongthong has ordered a shakeup of the Marine Department.

The minister also said training would be enhanced for boat drivers and he encouraged the city to build a Marine Safety Center to serve as headquarters for marine police and sea-rescue squads, which have been criticized for their slow response to the accident that cost one tourist part of his left leg and seriously injured another seven.

In the interim, Prasert said he’s asking the Tourism Authority of Thailand to assure foreign offices and governments that water transport and sports are safe in Thailand so the country’s tourism industry isn’t damaged.

“The accident, apart from having caused loss of (limbs) and assets, has greatly affected tourism because the accident occurred from the recklessness of the personnel operating the boat,” Prasert said. “Since the measures by Pattaya and its relevant agencies have been well planned, the problems may be with the equipment and personnel controlling or supervising the sector. The situation had revealed that Pattaya has more boat operators than the Marine Department and Marine Police can administer.”

There are more than 1,000 speedboats operating in the Pattaya area, as well as almost 500 jet skis.