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Chinese tourist deaths spur Phuket, Phi Phi tour boat safety hike

The Marine Chiefs of Krabi and Phuket have vowed to tackle dangerous speedboat operators in the wake of 18-year-old Chinese tourist Li Yuheng dying after the femoral artery in his left leg was slashed by a propeller at Phi Phi Island last week.

“Despite all efforts to save him, Mr Li died at 11:23 pm on July 8 at Krabi Hospital due to the injuries he sustained after being hit by the propeller,” phuket clean upconfirmed Lt Col Chaetpan Naruedon, Chief Investigator at Phi Phi Police Station.

“Naradon Tongdee, 20, who started the engine, causing Mr Li’s injuries, has been charged with recklessness causing death.

“The tour company’s insurance has paid about B2.3 million in compensation to Mr Li’s family, the tour company also covered the costs of the family’s visit to Thailand following the incident,” he said.

Mr Li’s death follows the deadly collision of two tour speedboats off Phuket on June 8 that left two Chinese tourists dead and 34 other tourists injured. That incident, along with several fatal accidents off Pattaya, prompted a major push for marine safety improvements at the national level.

Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul in Phuket on June 16 announced a raft of new measures to improve marine safety in Thailand while the Tourism Authority of Thailand also on June 16 posted the new 10-point marine safety crackdown on its website.

Under new regulations, the Marine Department is to impose severe penalties and bans for any businesses or boat operators that break the rules; introduce new and comprehensive testing for anyone applying for a boat operator’s license; and review and renew boat operators’ licenses every five years.

“We are focusing on the test knowledge and interviewing boat operator applicants,” Krabi Marine Chief Boonchaw Tangsiripaisan, who is responsible for vessels at Phi Phi, told The Phuket News.

“They will get their license only when they have gained enough knowledge and pass the test, and we will be strict on checking our database records before issuing or renewing any licenses,” he said.

“Regarding the accident on July 8, the boat operator has had his license suspended for two years, and he has yet to be sentenced for his criminal liability.”

Phuket Marine Chief Surachai Burapanontachai concurred.

“We are very serious about this issue because this should not happen to anyone,” he said. “The crew acts under the responsibility of the boat operator. If anything happens, the Marine Act holds the boat operator responsible. The consequences will be on him.

“Within two months, the Marine Office will issue new standards to boat operators which will also affect all crew,” he said.

Phuket News

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