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Pattaya Daily News

16 September 2010 :: 14:09:15 pm 38842

Pattaya Tourist Boat Operation & Management Meeting Held

Pattaya and Chon-Buri maritime transport authorities met on Tuesday to discuss the better organisation and management of vessels operating in the Pattaya Bay, for the benefit of involved tourists.
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Pattaya, the 14th of September 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: At approximately 3:00pm on Tuesday, a meeting was held between the Pattaya Tourist Boat Association, Marine Department and Maritime & Harbour Department to discuss the organisation of tourist vessels operating in Pattaya waters and recent safety concerns voiced regarding the industry.

Held at the Pattaya Meeting Hall, Pattaya Tourist Boat Association spokesman, Mr. Saksit Photisit emphasised the need to better manage and monitor vessels operating in the Pattaya Bay, which have come under heavy criticism from the tourist industry in recent times.

Mr. Photisit stated that the Pattaya Tourist Boat Association was in the process of evaluating the current tourist boat management and regulations applicable, including numerous claims of overpricing and cheating of tourists using the services.

He stated the current management, operation and regulation of boat services in the region was becoming a constant blight on Pattaya’s tourist image, adding that overpricing along with continued safety and security concerns regarding the industry was significantly affecting the amount of tourist looking to use the service.

Issues discussed at the meeting included the registration, insurance and safety regulations for all tourist vessels operating in Pattaya waters. In addition, the management of boat moorings and regulated maritime traffic zones were considered.

All proposals and policy changes agreed at the meeting will now be submitted to government regulators for consideration, according to Mr. Photisit.

Editor’s note: Tourist boat operational problems will likely never change in Pattaya until the entire system is overhauled; here are just a few points to consider when looking at the issue:

Mr. Sanit Boonmachai (President of the Tourist Boat Association (TBA)) has a stranglehold on this industry and his position at the helm of its operations. Unlike the police or other positions of authority in Thailand, who are generally rotated yearly to avoid complacency and widespread corruption, the president of the TBA is elected into power as with government officials. In that respect certain key figures have a significant say in the election proceedings, often directly related to the prevalent accusations of vote-buying.

– In Mr. Boonmachai’s case, several of his main supporters (financial) are also heavily involved in the industry, which he oversees and are inherently perpetrators of some of the illegitimate practices, which are now being discussed. Therefore, changes to policies and regulations are significantly obstructed for obvious reasons. See: One Mans Crusade for Justice and Minor Recompense in Allan’s Continual Fight for Justice

– In regards to the insurance of speedboats, single engine vessels are not required to have the appropriate coverage for the transportation of tourists as they are categorised for personal use only, with a cap of 12 passengers. Despite the laws restricting their use as transportation/taxi boats, operators flout the laws due to the procedural inadequacies of the relevant administration, as mentioned above. In the event of an accident involving these vessels, compensation claims are then invalid. Two engine speedboats ARE required to have appropriate transportation insurance and provide the relevant safety and lifesaving equipment aboard their vessel, but who dares to inspect and enforce the laws?

– A key man in the local administration with enough power to effect the current situation is Pattaya City Mayor Itthiphol Khunpluem. A very busy and at times compromising character, Mr. Khunpluem is rarely able to attend meetings on such matters, which generally don’t harbour discussion but merely announce the already confirmed decisions discussed by administrators behind the scenes. These decisions are then implemented regardless of the opinions of those in attendance at the ‘meeting’.

Warina Punyawan
Pattaya Daily News

Reporter : Yanwarrut   Photo : Yanwarrut   Category : Community News

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