11 July 2024

The government has ordered the Phoenix tourist ship, which was salvaged off Phuket on Saturday, to be impounded for investigation after it was towed to a dockyard on the tourist island.

Tourism and Sports Minister Veerasak Kowsurat, Phuket governor Pakkapong Thaweepat along with Chinese consul-general in Thailand Mr Li Shun-lin and the vice consul based in Songkhla were on hand to witness the towing of Phoenix by a barge to Rattanachai dockyard.

The delegation stood in silence for about one minute to pay respect to the 47 Chinese tourists who died when the ship sank in rough seas in mid-July.

Minister Veerasak said that officials concerned had been determined in their efforts to salvage the sunken vessel which was regarded as an important piece of evidence which might shed light to the cause of its sinking.

He said both the Thai and Chinese governments had attached importance to the investigation to determine the actual cause of the tragedy, adding that the Thai government has imposed maximum restriction to prevent unauthorized persons to get close to the salvaged vessel.

The minister stressed that no information about the investigation would be leaked to the media but would be sent directly to him and the Chinese government as first priority.

The Chinese consul-general, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the Thai government’s sincere efforts to try to shed light into the cause of the tragedy.

He said once the case was resolved and that the cause of the accident was known, confidence of tourism safety among Chinese tourists would be restored.