Patrol boat brings 33 stranded tourists back to Phuket

Patrol boat brings 33 stranded tourists back to Phuket

A container of rubber wood from the MV.NP Love Gistic 2 is washed ashore at Koh Sukon after high waves pounded the cargo vessel off the Trang mainland. (Photo: Methee Muangkaew)

A Marine Department patrol boat has braved rough seas to guide 33 tourists safely back to the Phuket coast after their tour boat captain refused to leave Racha Yai resort island because of the stormy seas.

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Crew who managed to direct the tourist-packed boat back to shore late on Wednesday morning admitted they had to take “utmost care” during the trip, Naewna newspaper reported.

Conditions in the Andaman Sea remain volatile with strong waves as high as three metres, they said.

The department used patrol boat “1301” to pick up the 33 tourists after being asked for help on Wednesday morning.

The tour operator who took them to Racha Yai, off the southeastern coast of Phuket, decided not to venture back out to sea because of the very strong winds and dangerous seas.

Last Thursday, two tourist boats capsized and sank off off Phuket, claiming the lives of 45 Chinese travellers.

On Tuesday, giant waves pummeled a cargo vessel, washing its 16 large containers of rubber wood into the Andaman Sea.

The MV.NP Love Gistic 2 was heading south to Malaysia after leaving Na Kluea Port on the Trang mainland.

“It was pounded by five-metre high waves,” Trang governor Siriphat Phatthakun said on Wednesday. The captain failed to seek safely at nearby islands.

Residents on Koh Sukon resort island said they found six containers washed up on the shore.

The Meteorological Department warned of torrential rain from July 11 and 15 due to a monsoon trough in the North and the strong southwest monsoon in the South.

Fishermen and small boats  have been warned of high sea waves both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Wave heights along the western coast could reach four metres, the department said.

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