Shipwreck platform at Chalong pier under repair

PHUKET: Long-term wear and tear left a pontoon at Chalong Bay Marina, next to Chalong Pier, dangerously this week, leaving officials to decide whether to simply repair it again or spend up to 1 million baht to replace him.

The pontoon began to sink on Thursday January 13, leaving the platform tourists use to board boats leaving to visit nearby islands to lean dangerously to one side.

The rig was shut down and engineers inspected the damage on Thursday, said Tiwat Seedokbuab, vice president of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO, or OrBorJor), which is responsible for maintaining the rig. Chalong Pier and Chalong Bay Marina.

The pontoon started absorbing water through rust and abrasion after years of use, Mr Tiwat said.

“Technicians pumped out the water and placed a temporary patch over the leak. The pontoon is now back in its normal position, but it is still closed as it is still being fixed properly,” he said.

“It does not affect tourism because tourists can use other pontoons,” Tiwat added.

“This pontoon is over 20 years old and has had insufficient maintenance. It had already sunk due to rust and repeated contact from boats at anchor,” he explained.

Other pontoons used by tourists to board boats suffer as much damage as this particular pontoon, Tiwat noted.

However, other pontoons will be checked for safety, he said.

Mr Tiwat led a meeting yesterday to discuss what to do with the pontoon and any others found in poor condition.

“The technicians and all the senior PPAO officials involved held a meeting on the budget needed to solve this problem. Depending on the action to be taken, it can cost between B100,000 and B1 million,” he said.

“It is expected that the affected platform can be reopened by the end of this month. Now its security and usability are normal, but it has been used for a long time, so we have to decide whether to fix it again or replace it entirely,” he said.

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