THE powerful tropical storm Noul moving across Thailand this weekend caused a ferry carrying 90 people from Koh Chang to Trat mainland to run aground last night with it taking four hours to safely evacuate all of them, Amarin TV reported this morning (Sept. 19, 2020).
The rescue drama started at 7 p.m. after Mr. Thanya Watthanaweraphong, head of Strategy and Management Division, Trat Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, was notified that a ferry had run aground near Centerpoint’s pier in Laem Ngop district with a total of 90 tourists and crew stranded on board and quickly took a team there to help them.
Upon arriving the team swiftly took food and drinks to the frightened and exhausted people aboard the ferry which went aground near a bridge.
Prior to their arrival, another Centerpoint ferry had tried to pull the stuck ferry out for over an hour until it too ran aground.
Finally another ferry from a pier on the other side of Koh Chang came to the rescue taking over four hours to evacuate all the people.
However tourists would have to wait for better weather before they could get their vehicles off the ferry that was still stuck near the bridge.
Mr. Sawit Sangnukroh, one of the tourists, said the ferry had got near Trat pier at around 5.30 p.m. and was about to dock when a storm swept it away causing it to finally rest near the bridge. The passengers were in a state of shock but the crew calmed them down with an explanation about what had happened.
Meanwhile a weather forecast by the Thai Meteorological Department at 10 a.m. today says Noul is now hanging over Khao Koh, Petchabun province, and is expected to downgrade to an active low pressure cell. At the same time, the strong southwesterly monsoon prevails across the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand with the two weather patterns likely bringing torrential rain in the North, Northeast, Central, East and upper South.
People in the risky areas should beware of severe rainfall that may cause flash floods and water runoff. They should stay safe by keeping away from large trees and flimsy buildings.
Strong winds and waves are likely in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In the upper part of both seas, the waves will likely be two to four metres high and rising over four metres if there is a thundershower. In the lower part, the waves will likely be two metres high, but if there is a thundershower, they will surge up to three metres. All ships should keep ashore till Sunday September 20.
Top: Tourists getting off the rescue ferry. Thai headline says, “Noul slams ferry till it went aground.”
Below: The Centerpoint ferry sailing before it ran aground. Photos: Amarin TV