PHUKET: The director of the Phuket Marine Office (PMO), Phuripat Theerakulpisut, yesterday (September 10) gave more details of two shock announcements that have reverberated through the marine leisure industry and among yacht owners in the past few days.
One announcement ordered all yachts moored or anchored in Ao Yon to move out immediately. The other stipulated that all foreign-flagged yachts must be equipped with AIS tracking devices.
“There are two reasons why we focused on Ao Yon,” he explained at a meeting at the Royal Phuket Marina. “One is that it is near the navy base and the other is that we found there were a lot of yachts moored there with no owner in sight.
“This is our main problem – that we couldn't find the owners. Sometimes they leave boats there and go back to their home country, and we don't even know who they are.
“This motivated us to ban all yachts [Thai and foreign-flag] from Ao Yon. Any yachts left, whose owners we cannot identify, will be seized,” he explained.
Temporary mooring or anchoring is still allowed – but not for long periods, he said, “I can't say exactly how long that would be but, for me, temporary means no more than 10 days or so.