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Published on : Friday, November 8, 2013
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed all authorities involved in the administration and management of Pattaya city to strictly enforce laws in order to assure tourists’ confidence and ensure that one of Thailand’s most popular beach resorts remains a model tourist destination.
The Thai Prime Minister conducted an inspection visit to Pattaya on 5 November, 2013, two days after the tragic “Ko Lan Travel 1” ferry accident. She was accompanied by H.E. Mr. Yukol Limlamthong, Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Jaruphong Reuangsuwan, Minister of Interior, Mr. Chatchart Sitthiphan, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, and H.E. Mr. Sonthaya Khunpluem, Minister of Culture.
The high-level delegation inspected Bali Hai Pier and was briefed about the accident as well as rescue and relief operations by Mr. Itthiphol Khunpluem, Pattaya City Mayor, and Chonburi Governor Komsan Aekchai.
Ms. Yingluck extended her deepest personal condolences to the families of the seven victims of the accident, and her deepest sympathies to all those who suffered injuries and trauma.
Instructing all those responsible to ensure that such accidents are not repeated, Ms. Yingluck emphasised that all concerned authorities must work together to “strictly enforce existing laws or issue new stricter rules and regulations”. She assigned Mr. Yukol and Mr. Sonthaya to meet with the concerned authorities and private sector to address all problems facing Pattaya, ranging from traffic to safety. A joint effort between the Department of Local Administration, Police Department and all other concerned public and private agencies is necessary to ensure that Pattaya retains visitor confidence, according to Ms. Yingluck.
She also called on the Provincial Police Division Region 2 (Chon Buri) and Marine Department to investigate whether the boat operator had abided by international rules and regulations on water-transport safety, and ensure that all water-transport operators strictly follow international safety standards.
According to the Chonburi Governor, the double-decker Ko Lan Travel 1 ferry, which belongs to Ko Lan Travel Co., Ltd., capsized and sank about one nautical mile (1.8 km) off Nuan Beach, Ko Lan at 18.00 hrs. on Sunday, 3 November. Emergency and rescue teams were able to rescue 209 passengers. The tragic accident claimed seven lives – one Hong Kong (male), two Polish (one male and one female), one Russian (boy 12) and three Thais (two female and one male).
Another passengers were treated for injuries at the Pattaya Memorial Hospital, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, and Banglamung Hospital. About 100 other passengers suffered minor injuries.
Right after the accident, Pattaya City set up a tourist assistance centre at Bali Hai Pier to coordinate rescue operations with the Royal Thai Navy, Marine Department and Marine Police. The city also suspended the operating license of the boat-driver and issued an order for the sunken vessel to be salvaged within 30 days.
The initial assistance and rehabilitation for victims and passengers of the sunken Ko Lan Travel 1 ferry include a compulsory insurance policy bought by the ferry’s owner with AIG Insurance, under which financial liability per death is 100,000 Baht and medical coverage per person injured is 15,000 Baht. Also under the insurance policy for tourists and guides with AIG New Hampshire Insurance, the financial compensation per death is 200,000 Baht and medical coverage per person injured is 100,000 Baht. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Tourist Assistance Centre has a tourist insurance policy with a financial liability per death up to 300,000 Baht.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni also expressed his deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims of the tragedy and their families. He said that it is now long overdue for the Thai tourism industry as a whole, including both the private and public sectors, to start paying equal attention to its proper management in a systematic and holistic manner.