The navy has assigned the frigate HTMS Kraburi to protect the Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry, which made its first trip on Thursday after rough seas delayed the unofficial launch on Jan 1.
The frigate was already deployed in the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand, a statement by the navy said. It was assigned work with the Marine Department to ensure maritime security, especially for the Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry service.
HTMS Kraburi would escort and remain in constant contact with the ferries of the Royal Passenger Liner Co Ltd, the operator of the two-hour trip between the two popular tourist destinations.
The service launched unofficially on Jan 1, with free passage offered until Jan 15 and the official opening set for Jan 12. However, the first run was delayed by rough seas in the Gulf, until Thursday, Jan 5.
The company is currently using only one of its three ferries, offering one daily return trip. It will be docked on Jan 11 for maintenance and checks ahead of the official launch the following day.
Departure time is set at 8.30am and the return trip at 3pm. The ferry is scheduled to depart Hua Hin for Pattaya return from Jan 7 to 10 and from Pattaya to Hua Hin return on Jan 13 to15.
After the fare-free period, the basic ticket cost will be 1,250 baht a trip per head.
The ferry company has bought three 38-metre long ferries from China, each capable of carrying 339 passengers. Each ferry has 286 seats on the first deck, with 44 business class seats on the upper deck and two VIP rooms. Prices for the upper deck have not been announced. There is a crew of eight. The ferries can travel at up to 27 knots, according to the company.