Dive-boat blazed, whale shark grabbed in Thailand

Sea World One on fire near Thap Lamu pier (Kamara One)
Sea World One on fire near Thap Lamu pier (Kamara One)

The latest diving liveaboard to catch fire, fortunately in harbour and with only one person, a crew-member, onboard at the time, is Sea World I in southern Thailand.

The boat had been approaching Thap Lamu pier, the main departure point for the Similan Islands and located near Khao Lak in Phang Nga province, when it caught fire on 2 April. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

The flames spread rapidly through the timber boat, causing the crew-member to jump into the water. Firefighters and naval personnel took about an hour to bring the fire under control.

The liveaboard accommodated 18 people in nine cabins and operated mainly in the Similans, Surin and Phi-Phi as well as Burma’s Mergui Archipelago. It was run by Thai operator A-One Diving, which has been in business since 1999.

Two days later on the other side of Thailand a night ferry from Surat Thani to the dive-resort island of Koh Tao also caught fire – and in this case it was packed with 97 passengers, who also resorted to jumping into the sea. They were all said to have been rescued without injury, along with the 11 crew. The fire is thought to have started in the engine-room.

A warning for divers

Meanwhile, back in Phang Nga province, a scuba diver visiting Thailand from another country has been fined for tweaking a whale shark’s tail.

The moment the diver touches the whale shark’s tail, recorded by other divers in the group
The moment the diver touches the whale shark’s tail, recorded by another diver

Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation (DNP) imposed the undisclosed fine after the tour company reported the 31 March incident, with video and stills posted by other divers on social media causing an outcry.

In Thailand any action deemed to harm protected animals, including whale sharks, can result in a maximum of four years’ jail, a fine of 40,000 baht (about £860) or both. 

The video shows a group diving the popular Richelieu Rock site in Mu Koh Surin National Park and trailing the whale shark, with one diver extending an arm to touch its tail before another points out that the action is unacceptable. 

Following public criticism of the group’s dive-guides, Suparat Thoncharoenphong from the tour company explained that the culprit had been visiting the country and had been warned along with the rest of the group before the dive not to touch marine life under any circumstances.

She said she had been prompt in reporting the incident to the DNP, and it was up to the department to determine the penalty.

“I believe that no travel agencies encourage their customers to touch any marine life, but it still occurred,” said Thoncharoenphong. “I have never condoned wrong-doing by my customers. My travel agency has never concealed any illegal actions from the authorities, either. 

“As a diving enthusiast myself, I cannot condone such actions. Let’s work together to prevent such acts in the future.” The DNP stated that the diver’s embassy had been informed.

Also on Divernet: Survivors speak after fatal Red Sea dive-boat fire, Deported diver returns – but faces pipefish charge, Diver’s orca binge brings record fine, Deportation order for ‘ugly video’ divers

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@dekkerlundquist5938
#ASKMARK Hello Mark, while out diving recently I talked to an experienced diver who was diving with twins but did not have any manifold on them, i.e. each cylinder had a first stage with a primary and an SPG. One cylinder had the low pressure inflator for his BC. What are the pros and cons of a manifold setup versus independent twins?

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00:00 Introduction
00:40 What's the point of independent twins?
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@dekkerlundquist5938
#ASKMARK Hello Mark, while out diving recently I talked to an experienced diver who was diving with twins but did not have any manifold on them, i.e. each cylinder had a first stage with a primary and an SPG. One cylinder had the low pressure inflator for his BC. What are the pros and cons of a manifold setup versus independent twins?

#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
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00:00 Introduction
00:40 What's the point of independent twins?
01:06 Answer

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What's The Point of Independent Twins? #askmark

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