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New regulations were put in place by the Fisheries Department on March 27 which state that all boats which carry a minimum of 24 passengers or any boat that weighs between 30 – 60 gross tons must install AIS (Automatic Identification System) class B or better.
Details of the new regulations were announced yesterday (April 23) at a meeting held between Phuket Marine Office and boat operators from around the island.
Puripat Teerakunpisut, Chief of Phuket Marine Office who chaired the meeting said, “There was an incident where a Vietnamese cargo ship hit a Thai fishing boat in an area off Phuket. We could track down the cargo ship easily by its AIS system.
“However, there is another incident which saw a tourist fall from a dive boat on the way to the Similan islands, and we have not been able to find a body.
“This boat didn̕t have an AIS system installed so we are unable to know the area where it travelled or where it is possible the tourist fell off.”
Mr Puripat said that any boat or ship which registers for a new licence must have a system installed or a licence will not be approved.
Boats or ships that have already hold a licence must install a system before the licence expires or the licence will not be renewed.
The cost of the equipment varies but should be around B35,000 with a monthly maintenance and service cost of around B1,450.
“Boat operators should look for one important logo on the product, the Garuda (national emblem of Thailand ). If the product does not have the Garuda a licence cannot be approved as it means it has not yet been approved by the NBTC (Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission),” added Mr Puripat.
Documents handed out at the meeting recommends five companies that boat operators should buy the detecting systems from including:
Exchange Information Service Co Ltd
Marine Star Co Ltd
A & Marine (Thailand) Co Ltd,
STD Group Co Ltd
Etnica (Thailand) Co Ltd
However, boat operators can use products from other companies they feel confident with.
Boat operators can check information about their boats requirements via the website www.fisheries.go.th/marine or the mobile application that will soon be created by the Fisheries Department.
Mr Puripat stressed that all vessel routes will be kept confidential under the Official Information Act.