Issued at 15.00 Hrs. (GMT+7) on 06 July 2018
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update regarding yesterday’s boat incidents, which took place in the Andaman Sea south of Phuket. The Royal Thai Government has confirmed that everything possible is being done to assist all affected, and the search and rescue operations will continue until every missing person is found.
TAT would also like to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the tourists who lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are also with those who were injured, and we hope that they recover from their injuries and make a swift and full recovery. For those who are still missing, we know that the authorities are doing everything in their power to facilitate their recovery.
As the incidents took place in busy waters, rescue and fishing boats as well as marine police and the Royal Thai Navy were able to reach the scenes within minutes to provide help as well as undertake the emergency search and rescue operations. Early this morning, the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command deployed four helicopter carriers, four patrol vessels and a team of divers to continue the search and rescue operations for the missing people, in cooperation with related government and private agencies as well as volunteers including fishing boats.
According to official reports, three boats capsized and sank due to bad weather and high waves around late afternoon on Thursday, 5 July, 2018. The boat, Phoenix, carrying 105 people including 93 tourists – mostly Chinese, a tour guide and 11 crew capsized and sank near Ko Hei (Coral Island), south of Phuket. Another boat, Sereniga, carrying 42 people including 35 tourists, a guide and six crew, capsized off Ko Maithon, southeast of Phuket, while a jet ski with two drivers capsized near Ko Racha. In addition, eight other boats with 166 passengers were stranded at Ko Racha. As of this morning, six boats and 136 passengers have returned safely to Phuket while two boats with 30 passengers remain at Ko Racha.
At the time of writing, all passengers and crew of the Sereniga, two jet ski drivers and 49 passengers of the Phoenix had been rescued. Search and rescue operations continue for the 35 remaining passengers of the Phoenix while 21 people have been confirmed dead.
Survivors were taken to Phuket’s Ao Chalong Pier, where an emergency tourist assistance centre is located at the Phuket VTMS Control Centre. The injured were taken to the Phuket Provincial Hospital, Mission Hospital Phuket and Vachira Phuket Hospital. All concerned authorities are instructed to help all the injured people get the best medical care for their injuries, and to coordinate with the families and relatives of those who lost their lives to provide any assistance they may need.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has announced that it will extend compensation of 300,000 Baht per person for those who lost their lives from this tragic incident. For the injured, the medical expenses can be reimbursed according to the actual spending, but not exceeding 500,000 Baht.
TAT is monitoring and assessing the situation and will be providing further details as the situation develops. In the meantime, we would like to encourage travellers to obtain information from various sources to get a balanced understanding about the reality on the ground in Thailand, so that they can plan their trips accordingly.