A FERRY packed with passengers and cars that sailed from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan this morning (July 11) ran aground upon getting close to the destination pier but was freed and safely docked after being stuck for over three hours, Matichon newspaper said.
The Raja Ferry Company’s R9 ferry had set out from Koh Samui at 9.30 a.m. before Surat Thani province had issued an announcement banning all types of boats from sailing from 2 p.m. today till 5 a.m. tomorrow (July 12). This step was taken after the Meteorological Department had issued a warning that strong winds may endanger tourists and other passengers using the Donsak-Koh Samui-Koh Phangan ferry route.
However at 1.30 p.m. just as R9 was approaching Thong Sala Pier at Koh Phangan strong waves slammed the stern causing it to run aground with passengers unable to disembark.
Koh Phangan subdistrict municipality quickly stepped in to free the ferry while also halting all boats from leaving the island. At 5 p.m. Koh Phangan District Chief Wichit Juntavichit reported to Surat Thani Governor Witchawut Jinto that R9 had been freed and had docked with all passengers and cars safely moving ashore.
Earlier Donsak District Chief Chakkrit Fangchonchit inspected the terminals of Seatran Ferry Company and Raja Ferry Company at Donsak pier to monitor the situation after the brief suspension of the ferry service was announced.
R9 ferry stranded near Koh Phangan’s Thong Sala Pier this afternoon. Photos: Matichon