Samui port study gets nod
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Samui port study gets nod

Koh Samui, Surat Thani province. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Koh Samui, Surat Thani province. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)

The Marine Department has decided to launch a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a cruise ship terminal on Koh Samui in Surat Thani province.

In an attempt to gauge the private sector's interest in the proposed cruise ship terminal project, the department launched a seminar in Bangkok on Tuesday. The seminar, chaired by the director of the department's engineering division Wanchai Butthongdee, weighed the pros and cons of using a public-private partnership (PPP) model to fund the terminal's construction.

Koh Samui was chosen as the location as it is often visited by transiting cruise ships due to its natural beauty. According to the ministry, the island was visited 59 times by cruise ships before the pandemic, making it the third busiest cruise stop-off in Thailand behind Phuket and Laem Chabang.

Currently, cruise ships must anchor off Koh Samui and tourists have to be shuttled to and from the island in smaller boats. In addition to making day-trips rather inconvenient, this also poses a risk to tourists' safety.

The department has a site at Laem Hin Khom in tambon Taling Ngam as a potential location, as the waters surrounding the area are deep enough to accommodate large cruise ships.

The terminal will be large enough to allow two cruise ships to dock at the same time, as well as up to 80 yachts and six ferries.

The move is in line with the Transport Ministry's push to construct more cruise terminals along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, which it hopes will attract more tourists.

If the terminal project goes ahead, the government will cover the costs of land expropriation and terminal construction, while the cost of equipment and port maintenance will be absorbed by the private sector partner -- which will be granted revenue-sharing rights for 30 years.

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