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Brit charged, fined after yacht lightning-strike fire

The British skipper on board the yacht that caught fire after a lightning strike and burned to the waterline off Phuket late last Friday afternoon has been handed down a three-month suspended jail term and fined B3,000 for operating a boat in Thai waters without the appropriate license.

The news was revealed at Phuket Provincial Hall late yesterday afternoon (Nov 5) at a meeting called by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana.

Governor Phakaphong called to the meeting all officials in Phuket responsible for marine transportation so he could be fully briefed on what had happened in the yacht fire incident, which saw the Beneteau 50-foot sloop Emmjay catch fire after a lightning strike at about 5pm late Saturday afternoon (Nov 3).

Of concern was that nine British nationals were on board when the yacht caught fire. All nine were safely recovered by a passing charter fishing boat. (See story here.)

Wiwat Chitchertwong, Acting Chief of the Phuket Marine Office, reported, “This case was reported to the police, and the Phuket Provincial Court handed down its judgment against Mr David Stewart Toy, who was is captain of the boat.

“He was charged and found guilty of operating a boat without a license. The penalty handed down was a suspended sentence of three months in jail and a fine of B3,000,” Mr Wiwat said.

“The second defendant, Mikey Burker, a Thai national who was boat crew, was charged with supporting Mr Toy in wrongfully using the boat. His penalty handed down was a suspended jail term of two months and a fine of B2,000,” Mr Wiwat added.

“All tourists on the boat were safe, and insurance took care of all nine tourists to check in at the JW Marriott Maikhao,” Mr Wiwat added.

“This incident forced officials to be aware of water safety and it showed how officials work together in such incidents. Every aspect of how officials responded to this shows people to be confident in water safety in Phuket,” Mr Wiwat said.

The Phuket News

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