Phuket officials sank plans to launch a floating party boat, saying it wasn’t up to code and lacked permission to operate.
Originally scheduled to open later this month, the Yona Beach Club was told to suspend operations after local officials raised concerns about its permits and potential public nuisance and environmental damage.
Nachapong Pranit, director of Phuket Regional Harbor Office, said that the boat cannot run until it acquires a license to operate as a passenger boat with food and beverage services.
The ship only has a passenger license, Narong said, adding that its operators were previously fined THB10,000 for running with expired permits.
Coconuts has reached out to the boat’s owners for comment.
The boat is registered as No. 645000415. It weighs 579 tons and can accommodate up to 500 people. It was registered in Trang province as a passenger boat by Phuket-based company Yona Beach Ltd. It cruised from Trang to anchor in Phuket in June 2022 before its permit expired on Dec. 15, 2022.
Yona Beach Club is owned by French and Thai partners.
After inspecting the vessel, marine authorities ordered various repairs including to its horn signals, fire extinguishing system, and waste management.
Phuket Gov. Narong Woonsiew said he “disagreed” and “did not approve” of Yona and ordered his team to conduct inspections and meet with Yona’s owners to find solutions.
Capt. Krit Kluebmat of the Maritime Enforcement Command Center said local authorities at Katu District Office and Patong Municipality Office disapprove of Yona operating in the middle of the Andaman Sea, saying the ship would cause environmental damage, pollution, and noise.
The command center was gathering information from other marine authorities and police and discussing the issue.
Yona Beach Club made headlines earlier this month by announcing it would welcome visitors starting Jan. 23, prompting Phuket officials to inspect and shut down the ship.