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Phuket’s boat safety stakeholders sign major industry commitment

Last night’s major marine safety event, titled “United for Marine Safety” ended with many of Phuket’s leading boar tour operators, government and safety officials, signing a Memorandum of Understanding, and committing to a range of new safety measures.

The event, primarily organised by 5 Star Marine, and supported by some of the island’s largest boat tour companies, was an immediate response to the death of a 5 year old Russian girl who was travelling on a boat tour at Koh Maithon on December 31.

But principal organiser, Shaun Stenning, CEO of 5 Star Marine, says its a broader response to years of deaths, crashes and ‘near misses’ in the industry that deserves swift and major changes to the status quo.

“As a parent I am hoping that tonight’s commitment between the industry and island officials will save at least one life… then all my efforts have been worth it. The recent incident at Koh Maithon was a wake-up call for the entire industry to unite, introduce new safety procedures and commit to enforcing existing rules.”

The MOU included the following new guidelines which have been agreed to by Phuket’s tour boat industry leaders…

The above goals will be accomplished by undertaking the following activities:

  1. Drug Testing
    1. ALL employees of a Marine Industry Company should complete a drug test prior to their first day of work.  The employee must present a Negative test before starting their work at a company.
    1. Every undersigned company will conduct random drug tests every 15 days, which includes ALL boat crew (eg. Captains, Engineers, Deck Hands and Guides)
  1. Life Jackets
    1. ALL boats must carry adequate life jackets of an approved standard.
  1. Training
    1. ALL boat crew/ guide crew, and engineer crew must attend a First Aid Training course once a year.
    1. Captains, Engineers and Boat Crew must pass training and receive a certificate of competency related to their tasks on board the vessels taking passengers to sea.  The training will focus on safety in navigation, including the use and handling of boats and other related elements.  The training will be designed and provided by the Phuket Provincial Skill Development Office.
  1. Rescue
    1. For future planning, in the areas where incidents occur frequently there will be an arrangement for Jet Ski Boats for quick transport of victims.

Around 300 people attended the event at the White House in Boat Lagoon, including the Phuket Governor, Sophon Suwannarat.

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