This story was published in The Phuket News last week.
Four de-commissioned Thai Navy vessels to be sunk off Krabi
Thailand’s Royal Navy has agreed to hand over four decommissioned vessels for use in a Krabi undersea marine park projected by the provincial office, it was reported Wednesday. The project is aimed at ‘increasing knowledge of undersea life’ and ‘increasing tourism resources at Koh Phi Phi.’
Chuan Pukaoluan, appointed chairman of the Governor’s Council of Advisors on Provincial Development, said the Undersea Knowledge Park project originated in the council, which requested the warships in 2010. “Our goal is to conserve and revive the undersea and coastal resources of Krabi,” Chuan said.
“The Navy has now agreed to hand over the ships,” he said, naming the vessels Pra Tong, Kolam, Talibong, and Rawee – all de-commissioned.
“These warships that will be sunk in the undersea marine park are quite important,” he explained, “because, as man-made coral reefs, they will serve as nurseries for conserving immature sea life, protecting them from illegal fishing.”
He also noted the ships will add to Krabi’s tourist attractions and become “an enhanced feature of provincial development.”
He said the vessels will be turned over to Krabi “sometime this month.”
“Presently they are in the cleaning stage,” Sombat said. “I expect in two months they can be towed to Krabi.” He said towing the ships to Krabi would cost “about ten million baht, which is all coming from private sector pockets – it won’t cost the state even one baht.”
Sombat said the project has backing from the Coastal and Marine Resources Department. “One of the ships will be sunk off Phi Phi Lay,” he said, “and three off Koh Yawasam in Tambon Ao Nang of Meuang district, Krabi.”
“I am sure this will be a new choice for tourists in Krabi,” he opined.
Said fellow Council of Advisors member Porthep Siboonreuang: “In addition to becoming a centre for dissemination of knowledge about – and study of – undersea nature, the new park will conserve and revive [the environment in] two places. We expect the resulting increase in tourists wishing to experience the undersea environment will be 5,000 yearly – adding to yearly income by ten million baht.”
It was not reported what facilities, other than the sunken navy vessels, are planned for the park.