In the follow up to last weekend’s fatal crash of a speedboat as it was heading out of Koh Maiton, officials have conducted snap drug tests at both the Chalong Pier and Ratsada Pier.
Whilst there were no positive responses at the Chalong Pier testing, one person has tested positive for meth after officials carried out testing at the Ratsada Pier yesterday, January 2.
At Ratsada, a total of 18 boat captains and crew were tested, with one person testing positive for methamphetamine in their system. According to a Phuket News report, he has been taken to Ratsada Subdistrict Health Promoting Hospital to enter rehab.
The man’s name and position have not been revealed, nor have officials confirmed if he had been working on a boat while using the methamphetamine.
Over 5,000 people travel by boat to and from Ratsada Pier every day, according to Prawet Suphachai, Director of Regional Harbor Office 5. It’s the main jumping off point for ferries taking tourists to Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi and other islands in Krabi, and Koh Lipe further south in Satun province.
Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat led a veritable plethora of high-ranking officials to Ratsada Pier yesterday morning, according to the Phuket News report.
He was accompanied by officials from the Phuket Marine Office, the Phuket branch of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, Mueang Phuket District office, Phuket Provincial Police, the Royal Thai Navy, and the Phuket branch of the Internal Security Operations Command, which is the political arm of the Thai military.
The media were also in tow to ensure that the knee-jerk reaction from Phuket officials was captured and published around the local media.
The big show of drug testing according to officials was to “follow up on maritime safety measures in order to build confidence among citizens and tourists”. It follows the tragic death of a 5 year old Russian child after the driver of the speedboat she was on ploughed into rocks at Koh Maiton on Sunday.
The incident also left several other Russian tourists injured and the boat captain, Natthaphong Kongwilai, in a coma.
There have been reports in several Thai media outlets that the speedboat driver was on methamphetamine, but this has yet to be confirmed by the authorities.
SOURCE: The Phuket News