Stricken Phoenix gathers dust after auction fails to find a buyer
Last month’s auction to sell the Phoenix, the tour boat that capsized causing the drowning of 47 Chinese tourists on July 5 last year, failed to secure a buyer.
Meanwhile, the cursed vessel sits gathering dust and accumulating storage fees of Bt100,000 at the Rassada boatyard in Phuket.
The boat went up for auction last month at a starting price of Bt900,000 but, not surprisingly, the offer did not attract any interest.
Investigators into the vessel’s sea-worthiness have already declared that major modifications would have to be made for it to gain a certificate for operation.
The Thaiger also notes that Asian cultures have an aversion to ghosts, and with 47 lost souls on the Phoenix after the boat sank, any buyer would have to cope with a major refit as well as a more difficult PR exercise before anyone would ever step foot on her decks again.
Authorities believe the vessel may be sold to a foreign company and used as a private boat rather than for tour operations in the future.
They also speculate it could be harvested for spare parts on another boat in the future.
So far, the Anti-Money Laundering Office has spent a reported Bt700,000 storing the Phoenix at the Rattanachai Boatyard, east of Phuket’s main business hub of Phuket Town.
The Phoenix was seized during the investigation into its sinking, when it was found that a Thai shell company had been used as a legal ‘shop-front’ for Chinese owners who had funded the boat’s construction.
Another tour boat, the Serenita, also capsized on the same night during a freak storm off the southwest coast of Phuket, but the 42 passengers were rescued.