Police reports have been filed against several unnamed vessels over the oil slicks polluting a number of beaches along Phuket’s west coast, and further south to other island coastlines and north as far as Thai Muang in Phang Nga.
The Phuket Marine Office has filed several official complaints threatening legal action against a number of boats, yet to be named by officials.
The Phuket Express reports that the chief of the provincial marine office, Chayapong Pranit, says he can confirm the source of the oil that has appeared on Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Nai Thon and Layan beaches is a boat or boats. He says the oil will be completely cleared from all beaches within 2 days.
There has also been oil slicks and tar balls reported up to 20 kilometres south of Phuket and 30 kilometres north of the island along the coastal beaches as far as Thai Muang Beach.
Chayapong’s office initially filed a report with Sakoo Police in the Thalang district on Monday, August 7. Since then, another report has been filed with Chalong Police and various other police stations in the 3 Phuket districts with beaches.
The penalty for releasing oil into the sea is a fine of up to 60,000 baht and/or a 3-year prison sentence. Any vessel found guilty of the offence will also bear responsibility for the clean-up costs.
According to the Phuket Express report, a total of 81 boats were in the area over the last 7 days, with oil slicks subsequently found on beaches in a 95 nautical mile area along the west coast of the island.
Of the boats identified as being in the area, 62 were cargo boats, 18 were tankers, and one was a tug supply boat. The owners of the boats have not been publicly identified.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express