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he Marine Depart has come to a preliminary conclusion that the blame for the deadly boat crash on Sunday in Phang Nga Bay lies with the boat’s captain alone, clearing the boat’s owners and crew of any responsibility.
After a meeting yesterday evening (October 22), the department’s Deputy Director-General, Jiraporn Jantarasiri, said, “After two days of studying the case and reading the statement of the speedboat captain, we have concluded that the captain was at fault.”
The speedboat skipper, Surat Mat-Osot, gave police a statement in which he said said he had bent down to secure a black plastic bag that was blowing about the boat, and when he straightened up he saw the trawler Sinpichai 11 dead ahead.
He turned sharply to try to avoid a collision but the speedboat became caught up in the trawler’s fishing equipment and slammed into the fishing boat’s stern.
Two Korean tourists who were unaccounted for after the crash were later found dead on the seabed close to the wreckage of the speedboat.
Surat has been charged with reckless piloting resulting in death and is currently in custody in Krabi.
Ms Jiraporn added, “We will use his statement as the basis for questioning crew members who were in the accident, but have not yet been questioned.”
She said that the owners of the speedboat, the Seastar 29, had provided full safety equipment, the boat license was valid and boat driver had the correct license. “It was not the company’s fault.”
“We have also come up with ideas for further training of boat crews. Even though they may already have a license, they will have to attend further training, which we will set up.
“Boat crews must passed a training course on evaluating an accident situation in order to help passengers and reduce losses,” Ms Jiraporn said.
She added, “Phuket has about 2,000 license holders, for whom we will arrange training as soon as possible and with greater frequency,” she concluded.