Thai Navy on Save-the-Sea Mission

Royal Thai Navy patrol boats on the Chao Praya River, Bangkok

Royal Thai Navy patrol boats on the Chao Praya River, Bangkok: flickr.com

Little do people know that there are more than just stereotypical battle ships and submarines involved in the Royal Thai Navy’s daily task. The Navy’s environmental conservation program is among those many proud-to-present missions, considering the changes it has been contributing to the area. The program was just a small project when it was initiated some 20 years ago. Today volunteers from all over the country are drawn to join the activity.

First Naval Area Commander, Vice Admiral Khanat Thongpool, said the division is responsible for patrolling the upper Gulf of Thailand to monitor basically every single inch of the sea from the wellbeing of the reefs to illegal toxic waste dump. In the latter case, the Navy has a full authority to make an arrest. This specific task makes the Thai Navy uniquely different from counterparts in other countries.

Besides the usual patrol duty and environmental campaigning it runs in localities, this year the First Naval Area of the Royal Thai Navy is also organizing three special activities to celebrate the occasion of HM the King’s 82nd Birthday Anniversary. The latest event was organized last week under the theme “1,500 Miles, Combining Hearts for Beautiful Sea”, in which more than 1,000 people gathered to help clean the beach and collect underwater trash. Volunteers in the program included civilians, government officials, and celebrities. V Adm Khanat said it was the participation from the residents and the children that counted as their awareness was raised upon their involvement. Those people’s understanding of the situation is key to future conservation of marine life.

The first event organized earlier this year by the Navy was mangrove forest rehabilitation. The third – the year’s biggest event for the grand commemoration of HM’s Birthday – is coming up on 4 December 2009 on Ko Kham, Chon Buri, where thousand of people are anticipated to join the coral planting activity. V Adm Khanat elaborated that the techniques to be applied involve PVC tubes in which coral fragments or “nubbins” are plugged into and left in the sea until they grow strong and big enough to be transplanted in other areas. The work is part of the project to renovate Samaesarn – one of Chon Buri’s coastal districts.

There were many unpublicized conservation projects the Royal Thai Navy had accomplished during the past decades. The Navy vows to continue fixing the damage done by both man and nature to the Thai ocean. Despite the Navy’s laudable commitment, people need to bear in mind the conscience in protecting the environment and natural resources. The youngsters in particular are to be guided to appreciate the sea ethics in the hope to empower the environmental sustainability movement in the future. (NNT)

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