Tourism operators filed a lawsuit at the Rayong Provincial Court yesterday demanding Bt350 million in compensation from PTT Global Chemical PCL (PTTGC) for the July 27, 2013, oil spill off the coast of Rayong that affected Koh Samet's Ao Phrao beach.
Pisanu Kemapun, chairman of the Rayong Hotels Association, led six Koh Samet business operators to file the case at court. He said PTTGC had initially provided remedial measures, but upon reaching the 12th remedial step, the firm asked them to sign a paper promising they would take no legal action, which the operators found unacceptable. He said the remedial measures could not compensate for the drop in the number of tourists and the 100-per-cent booking cancellations due to the incident. Since July 28 is the deadline for the statute of limitations, the six operators decided to file a lawsuit against PTTGC.
Lawyer Khomkhai Sanguannapaporn said the businesses had no choice but to file the lawsuit in order to protect their rights and push the company to rehabilitate the island.
As nature normally rehabilitates itself in 10 years, the business operators are demanding compensation for the loss of projected income for at least five years. The group notified the Energy Ministry about initial damages worth Bt241 million and the ministry forwarded it to PTTGC, but got no response, she said. Hence, the group decided to sue the company for Bt350 million. The Rayong Provincial Court has taken up the case and set the initial hearing for October 13.