Tsunami Boat Memorials in Phang Nga, Thailand

Tsunami Boat Memorials in Phang Nga, Thailand

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The coastline of Phang Nga Province in Southern Thailand was the worst hit during the Tsunami in 2004 with over 4,000 people dying here alone. Other areas affected in Thailand were Krabi, Phuket, Ranong, Trang and Satun. Ten years later it is hard to imagine what it was like as there is little evidence left. Resorts have been rebuilt and vegetation replanted. But, there are a few boats left as memorials at the spots where they had been washed ashore.

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On the morning of Boxing Day on 26th December 2004, the police patrol boat 813 was stationed off the coast of Phang Nga in front of La Flora Resort. It was on royal duty that day as Princess Ubonrat and her family were spending the new year holiday in Southern Thailand. Her son was on a jet ski at the moment the tsunami hit this coastline. Police Boat 813 was swept inland about two kilometers. It is still there as a memorial for the tragic day. Among the thousands that died, the King’s grandson was also killed.

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Further north up the coastline in Nam Khem, these two fishing boats were swept inland by the tsunami. One of them ended up in the backyard of someone’s house, the other alongside the main road. Both of them were moved a short distance to this open field to serve as a memorial. This boat is Sri Samut, or the Red Demon. It was moored in the estuary when the tsunami hit. As it was swept inland it crashed into vehicles and houses. It is estimated that a hundred local people were killed by this one boat.

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Krisana Sakorn, known in English as the Blue Angel, was docked at a nearby pier when the tsunami hit the coastline at about 10:40 a.m. on Boxing Day. On board was a lone Burmese sailor who tried desperately to steer the boat out to sea. But the wave pushed the 60 tonne boat inland. A man with his three year old daughter managed to grab onto a tyre hanging from the side of the boat. All three survived and no-one was killed when the boat was swept inland.

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The final boat I found in Phang Nga is this one at the Ban Nam Khem Memorial Park by the coast. At least 800 villagers and tourists were killed here during the tsunami which makes it among the worst hit places in Thailand. The memorial itself is shaped like a giant wave. Alongside it is this fishing boat that was swept inland. Today, life has got back to normal for most people. Fishing boats are again going out to sea and people are going about their normal business. Only the memorial park remains as a reminder of that devastating day that killed thousands of people in such a short time.

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