As a result of COVID-19 threat to public health security, the marine environment and ecosystem have been given a nice, months-long break to recover themselves. Today, when the seascape is restored with the beauty of clear water, clean beaches and schools of fishes, ready to re-attract visitors to fascinating scenes once again, Banpu NEXT and Phuket Patri Tour have launched Banpu NEXT e-Ferry in Phuket as Thailand’s first marine tour electric ferry, starting its first route with Phuket – Phang-nga tour. Tourists are welcomed to embark on a clean energy ferry to take pleasure in a new experience of green tourism that will be memorable to everyone onboard. 

Mrs. Somruedee Chaimongkol, Chief Executive Officer of Banpu PCL. and Banpu NEXT Co., Ltd., said, “As a Banpu subsidiary and a leading smart clean energy solution provider in Asia-Pacific, Banpu NEXT is committed to sustainable business growth under our ‘Greener & Smarter’ strategy. We have therefore built Banpu NEXT e-Ferry as Thailand’s First Marine Tour e-Ferry and partnered with Phuket Patri Tour to operate a tour onboard this e-Ferry in Phuket sea as the first location. Phuket is a globally popular tourist destination. We wish to bring a new take on tourism to Thai and foreign visitors who are about to flow back to Phuket again while Thailand is unlocking the country as part of the government’s tourism recovery plan. Implementing an e-Ferry tour will enrich tourism with sustainability and give a stronger momentum to quality tourism that takes account of long-term impacts on communities and the environment.”

Key features of Banpu NEXT e-Ferry include 1) its capabilities in terms of traveling comfort 2) high level of safety, being built under ISO 9001: 2015 standards for quality management system, using aluminium that is strong, durable and need less frequent repairs and replacement of parts, as well as placement of battery storage at mid-section of the ferry’s body to minimise quakes; and 3) energy-saving and eco-friendly advantages because it does not create any oil spill as well as noise and air pollutions.

Mr. Chaiya Rapuepol, Managing Director, Phuket Patri Tour  Co., Ltd., added, “Despite few foreign tourists at present affected by COVID-19, we see this as an opportunity to prepare ourselves, equipping the business with better-quality services and showing our active support for green tourism along with delivery of quality services. The conditions of nature and marine lives have nicely recovered now. Green tourism will contribute to sustainable conservation of the marine ecosystem and beautiful nature. Introducing an e-Ferry service to our tour operation is a worthy investment in the long run: in addition to cost-cutting in terms of fuels and maintenance, it helps build awareness of eco-friendly tourism while contributing to sustainable business, environment and community development.” 

“Banpu NEXT e-Ferry is in service for James Bond Island Tour that begins from Ao Po Pier, taking tourists to attractions of Phang-nga Bay including Ko Pa Nak, Ko Hong, Khao Ta Pu (James Bond Island) and Khao Phing Kan. For more information, visitors interested in a tour onboard this clean energy ferry can call 076-263-558, visit website www.phuketpatritourgroup.com or go to Facebook page ‘Phuket Patri Tour’ https://www.facebook.com/PhuketPatriTourCompany.”

“About 2,000 boats are active in marine tourism activities in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand in four provinces*. If all of them are electrified like Banpu NEXT e-Ferry, it is estimated that within one year in service, more than 53 million liters of fuels can be saved and 140,000 tonnes of CO2 emission can be reduced, which is equivalent to planting 17 million trees. Tour operators are therefore encouraged to switch to electric boats. At the same time, visitors to Phuket are invited to experience its green tourism. We plan to develop Ao Po Pier as a smart mobility town by deploying more of electric boats, electric cars and other clean energy solutions to bring more well-rounded clean energy development to tourism,” Mrs. Somruedee concluded.

Note to Editors  *Based on a survey report on tourist boats/ferries in fiscal year 2019 [https://www.md.go.th/stat/images/pdf_report_stat/2562/travel_62.pdf], there are approximately 3,000 marine tourist boats/ferries in service. Of them, 2,000 are active in four provinces in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, namely Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi and Surat Thani.

About Banpu NEXT e-Ferry  Banpu NEXT e-Ferry is the first electric ferry for marine tourism in Thailand. It is powered by the clean energy from a 625 kWh lithium-ion battery storage system. With an overall length of 20 metres, it has a spacious passenger cabin with 74 seats and can cater to a maximum of 90 passengers. This ferry is double-hulled. The space between the hulls is open to maintain the balance and agility of the ferry, resulting in greater stability over the waves. Banpu NEXT e-Ferry has a cruising speed is 15 knots. It is built from aluminium, an outstanding material that makes this ferry light, durable, rust-free, safe, and energy-saving. The ferry is also equipped with an energy management system (EMS) to control energy generation and distribution and ensure energy efficiency and stability throughout each trip.