Competitiveness: Phuket based Thai navy increase patrol could see more superyachts activity

  • By Pooky, Thai Intel’s economics journalist

A Phuket based media, just reported that the Thai navy, Phuket based forces, in cooperation with navies from other ASEAN countries, are planning to beef up security against piracy.

Phuket is long known as a yachts heaven, but lately, more and more “Superyachts” have been visiting Phuket-and last year the island welcomed over 40 of these superyachts-according to local Phuket press.

But what is holding back an explosion in the number of these superyachts visit to Phuket, is that the owners of these superyachts, are normally very high net worth individuals-that typically are highly concern about security.

Recently, Singapore established its first yachts center-said to target superyachts. But in ASEAN, clearly, Thailand and Malaysia are the leader in the business-with perhaps, Thailand’s Phuket the leading area.

But the rise of China’s economy, increasingly, yachts traveling from North Asia, making stops in Vietnam, on their way to Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand-is a growing business.

Phuket is now a major international destination for yachts visiting the Indian Ocean and from here gives access to cruising areas such as Myanmar (Burma), the Andaman Islands and later in the season, Koh Samui and the Gulf of Siam.

For the local Phuket economy, every year when the “Asia Superyacht Rendezvous” event is held, superyachts will contribute millions of baht to the island’s economy, as some superyachts stay for up to 3 to 4 months a year.

But apart from security, Phuket is under-going changes-to attract even more super yacht. When the big yachts began arriving in Phuket, facilities were limited. However, that has changed and the island can now has three marinas for superyachts to berth.

Yacht enthusiast have been saying that changes in Thai laws, such as allowing chartering of foreign vessels in Thai waters and repealing the ‘spares for yachts in transit’ tax law, superyacht stays in Phuket could double or triple.

Phuket Thai Navy base joins anti-pirate joint patrol

Phuket Gazette

Thursday, February 23, 2012 4:50:23 PM

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area, based at Cape Panwa on the east coast of Phuket, is coordinating with other armed forces from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in a joint exercise to combat pirates in the Strait of Malacca.

Under the “Eye in the Sky” program, representatives from each country will join forces in patrolling the strait in aircraft, explained Vice Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan, commander of the Third Naval Area.

“We each take turns doing the patrol. Usually each country checks the area a couple times a month.

“However each country uses its own warships to patrol its territorial waters. We have brought pirating under control since we have started our 24 hour patrols,” he added.

The news was announced at a meeting at the Katina hotel in Phuket Town, called to draw up a security plan for 2012 policies and working methods for the six Andaman provinces: Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

“We are concerned about terrorists in Phuket after the bombing in Bangkok last week,” V/Adm Taratorn Kajitsuwan.

“Phuket is especially a concern because it is a tourist destination and we do not want tourists to be worried about terrorism,” he said.

“We are always working around the clock with the Air force, Marine Corps and Royal Thai Navy Maritime Security Center,” V/Adm Taratorn added.

The navy commander explained that the local Thai Navy base was coordinating with other authorities such as the police, as well as the customs and marine police, to protect Phuket and surrounding areas from any foreboding situation.

“We are taking this situation seriously to gain everyone’s confidence that we are working to the best of our ability to protect the public, the nation and the territorial waters that abut to India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar,” he said.

Questioned about the Navy’s actions in addressing the arrival of Rohingya in Thai territorial waters, V/Adm Taratorn said, “The Rohingya are an international security issue, which is above my authority. I cannot comment on the matter.

“However I can say that we are doing our best to support them in accordance with our obligations as members of the UN [United Nations]. We are Buddhist. We have been taught to help humans and to treat everyone as human,” he added.

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