Barge procession postponed due to strong current

Barge procession postponed due to strong current

Ceremony now set for Dec 12

The second major rehearsal of the royal barge procession is held on Monday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
The second major rehearsal of the royal barge procession is held on Monday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The government has explained that the rescheduling of the royal barge procession, from Thursday to Dec 12, was to ensure that the event is manageable and can proceed in an orderly manner, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

His Majesty the King has considered it fitting to postpone the procession. The government sought His Majesty's advice after the navy predicted that the speed of the water current on the Chao Phraya River could pose a problem for the procession on Thursday. 

Mr Wissanu on Monday outlined the reasons for deferring the event, which is an extension of His Majesty's coronation in early May.

The deputy premier explained that it's the government's priority to preserve the grandeur of the procession, the safety of the royal vessels and their crew, the uniformity of the formation of the barges and vessels during the procession, and the desire to minimise any effect that operations to control the flow of the river might have on riverside residents. 

"Moving the schedule to Dec 12 will make the event orderly and manageable," he said.  

The rescheduling, however, necessitates adding five more procession rehearsals on Nov 12, 19 and 26, with the final rehearsal taking place on Dec 9. 

The navy's Hydrographic Department said that during previous rehearsals, the vessels encountered strong water currents, exacerbated by high water levels, which are expected to continue well into this month. 

Prime Minister's Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop said he will hold talks with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday about the possibility of helping people who had booked rail, bus or air tickets to Bangkok to see the procession on Thursday.

He said that one option was for the Transport Ministry to negotiate with bus companies, the State Railway of Thailand and airlines to allow customers with confirmed tickets to attend the procession to change the travel dates, without any additional fees. 

Meanwhile, a grand exhibition on the royal barge procession will be launched to pay tribute to His Majesty the King's coronation, according to the Culture Ministry. 

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunpolome on Monday presided over the religious rite to mark the exhibition, which will be open to the general public from Friday until Nov 11 at Sanam Luang. 

He said the ministry will work alongside the Defence Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office to run the event.

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