Thailand to ban ships entering iconic Maya Bay due to damaged coral reefs

BANGKOK:Thailand's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced on Sunday that ships will not be allowed to enter Maya Bay from now on, except from the back.

The move came as Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa saw that the coral reefs were not recovering as expected.

"Therefore Maya Bay will remain closed as rehabilitation continues," said Varawut. "Because of excessive tourism, our coral reefs have been destroyed."

Maya Bay is known for its stunning coral reefs as well as three 100-meter high cliffs sheltering the bay.

It is the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi Island in Southern Thailand.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation under the environment ministry announced the closure of Maya Bay on June 1, 2018, banning tourism and related businesses.

The minister, however, said that despite the coral reefs not returning to shape, there have been other recoveries.

"On the land, many plants such as Morning Glory never seen on Maya Bay before, are growing well. But under the sea, corals are still in a dangerous condition. Many coral species grow at a rate of only 3 to 5 centimeters in a year."

He said that Blacktip Reef Sharks have been seen swimming in Maya Bay after the closure of the bay.

"Maya Bay will not be permanently closed. When the coral growth is complete, then this place will be open to tourists from all over the world," Varawut said. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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