AROUND 70-80 modified long-tail boats have been called in for inspection by the Marine Department’s office in Krabi after three of them capsized in two months killing two foreign tourists with many others injured, Matichon newspaper said this afternoon (Feb. 16).
Mr. Mana Nuanwan, director of this office, said the owners of these long-tail boats had replaced the original roof made of a steel frame and covered with canvas with a wooden one to serve VIP tourists.
However this modification has increased the boat’s weight and wind resistance thus posing a risk of them capsizing.
There are around 70-80 modified long-tail boats at Ao Nang, Nong Thale and Tha Lane bays, Khao Thong, Mueang Krabi and Phi Phi Islands.
The owners of boats found to be unsafe and at risk of an accident will be instructed by a Marine Department engineer on modifying them again. This includes adjusting the height of the roof and the width of the windows on both sides with only boats that are at least 23 metres long allowed to switch to a wooden roof.
The boat owner’s licence will not be renewed if tourists are allowed to sit on the boat’s roof and do not wear a life jacket while aboard.
Marine officials aim to complete this inspection before Songkran holidays in April.
Some modified long-tail boats in Krabi.
Insert: Mr. Mana Nuanwan, head of the Marine Department’s office in Krabi. All Photos: Matichon
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