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Divers find Richelieu Rock coral reef intact, as FB user apologises for explosion claim

Divers find Richelieu Rock coral reef intact, as FB user apologises for explosion claim

SATURDAY, April 08, 2017
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A team of divers from Mu Koh Surin National Park inspected the Richelieu Rock coral reef, a world-famous location for scuba diving, on Friday and found it to be intact.

Park chief Phutthaphot Khuprasit said yesterday that team, led by dive master Wirat Banleng, inspected the site to a depth of 30 metres and found that the coral reef was still fertile with many varieties of fish and young coral. Some broken pieces were due to the reef’s natural condition. 
There was no trace of any explosion damage, he said, as had been suggested by erroneous claims on social media.
Phutthaphot said he had already sent a report to National Parks Department chief Thanya Netithamkul and Environmental Conservation Office 5 head Suphot Pherdphring. 
He said the park officials and related agencies would patrol the area on regular basis and encouraged public members to help watch out for illegal activities and alert officials.
Meanwhile, the Thai Facebook user whose claim that the coral reef was damaged, possibly by fishermen using explosives illegally, deleted her original post and apologised for the misinformation.
In her post, Aey Payackapan said: “I have to apologise for the big misunderstanding about Richelieu Rock. Many people have been investigating and there seems to be no evidence of an explosion. The fish could have been dead by many reasons, so it was wrong of me to assume it was the explosion. Richelieu is still beautiful and full of life, and I apologise for giving such wrong information.”
Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who had expressed concerns and called for actions against the use of explosives for fishing, also posted the park’s explanation letter and Aey’s apology on his Facebook page on Saturday to help clarify the situation to the public.