Similan Islands park boss lays down the law

4 Oct 2011

The boss of the Similan Islands National Marine Park has announced that unlicensed tour boat operators will not be admitted. Mana Phermpool says that boat owners have until 1 November to register their vessels.

The head warden says there is no limit on the amount of boats that will be given permits, but they have to comply with requirements laid down by park officials. Licensed boats will be equipped with waste-water treatment systems and also be checked for fuel and oil leaks.

Mr Phermpool says that nearly 40 tour operators have applied for registration and will be allowed into the Andaman Sea dive spots popular with tourists from Krabi and Phuket. Park wardens will also conduct random boat checks in the park and any operators that are found to be dumping unprocessed waste-water or endangering marine life will be fined and have their licences cancelled.

Prior to the November opening, in time for the peak visitor season, park officers plan to inspect coral reefs and decide which ones are suitable for diving. Some reefs in the Similan Islands were closed last year after inspections revealed they had been damaged by bleaching.

The park boss finished by saying that once the current stormy weather had finished, his staff would check and see which reefs had recovered sufficiently to allow diving and also for any damage sustained during the monsoon season.    

Park officials say they will hold a briefing towards the end of October when tour operators will be told which dive sites are off limits and reminders will also be given about the park’s rules.  

Tags: Similan Islands law

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