According to an article in Matichon newspaper on February 16, the Marine Department’s office in Krabi is ordering inspections of around 70-80 modified long-tail boats after three of them capsized in two months, resulting in the deaths of two foreign tourists and multiple injuries.
One of the earlier stories HERE.
The director of the Marine Department’s Krabi office, Mr. Mana Nuanwan, explained that the owners of these boats had replaced the original steel-framed canvas roof with a heavy wooden one to accommodate VIP tourists in a more comfortable ‘cabin’.
But this modification has led to an increase in the boats’ weight, wind resistance and weight balance, making them more prone to capsizing. Some of the boats had added ‘balance boards’ on the sides of the hull to minimise tipping from side to side but had little effect on the boats tendency to capsize.
The modified long-tail boats are located at Ao Nang, Nong Thale, and Tha Lane bays, Khao Thong, Mueang Krabi and Phi Phi Islands.
The Marine Department’s engineers will inspect the boats and instruct the owners to make modifications if necessary. This includes adjusting the height of the roof and the width of the windows on both sides. Boats that are at least 23 meters long will be allowed to switch to a wooden roof.
The boat owner’s license will not be renewed if they allow tourists to sit on the roof of the boat and do not wear a life jacket while onboard.
Marine officials aim to complete this inspection before the Thai Songkran holidays in April.
SOURCE: Thai Newsroom