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Sattahip to Songkhla car ferry service set to begin by March, Prachuap Khiri Khan misses out - for now


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On 2/1/2021 at 9:27 AM, Kerryd said:

They (Seahorse Ferry) have a website set up (English and Thai), the  booking page is set up but you can't make bookings or check prices but if you browse the options it looks like they will have a number of choices for cabins as well as VIP and Regular seating. No mention of a galley.
https://www.seahorse-ferries.com/Home/blog-single.aspx?args=8F9CB7482264B41CD3BF54927B0B723279E0720352DFFB7D6F5466F9A597EF0D1AE3BD5D4103D510


The ferry they say they are going to be using looks like a proper boat:
1062554.jpg.6faae9457718551469bfc1550818ca99.jpg

It's a roro boat, the bow lifts and a retractable ramp folds out. Can't find any pics of the rear though. Has to be something similar though.

The ship's name is The Blue Dolphin. It appears that it was in service in Japan as a ferry as recently as 2015.

This blog has some pics of the galley, cabins and a couple pics of some seating areas. However, those pics may be from when it was being used in Japan.
https://www.blockdit.com/posts/6004eae45a8f410cde89379c

 

I am not sure, if they didn’t just take a photo from web, because it is so „bjooteefull“  🤣   :

 

- the japanese Blue Dophin is just 4 years in operation ... normally, they buy cheap and old

- the japanese ferry company still listing it amongst its ships

- the japanese Blue Dolphin is still sailing between Hokkaido and Honshu ... easily to check on internet marine traffic websites like Marinetraffic.com, MMSI is 431008386

 

 

Anyway, that route means, they are not just tinkering around in the relatively protected Gulf of Thailand, they are used to.

They are leaving the protection from the Vietnamese coast.

 

In certain weather conditions, with easterly to southeasterly winds, there’s a long wind fetch - so be prepared for a bumpy ride !

 

However - that shouldn’t be a big problem:

The excellent maintenance by Thai ferry operators and the renowned seamanship of their captains will make sure, that’s a minor issue 😎 😅

 

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the only hurdle remaining was the issue of safety   🤣

Thats right, far safer on the roads!

Just bloody drive it's the same time.... And  you don't have to worry about sinking 

Posted Images

On 2/8/2021 at 9:33 AM, BernieOnTour said:

I am not sure, if they didn’t just take a photo from web, because it is so „bjooteefull“  🤣   :

 

- the japanese Blue Dophin is just 4 years in operation ... normally, they buy cheap and old

- the japanese ferry company still listing it amongst its ships

- the japanese Blue Dolphin is still sailing between Hokkaido and Honshu ... easily to check on internet marine traffic websites like Marinetraffic.com, MMSI is 431008386

 

The Thai one is 27 years old and has had a few previous names:

 

image.png.0e46752fc9a525b7db1f967e9f1852d8.png

 

This is the current Japanese Blue Dolphin ferry:

image.png.6b1ae210e569d1da0303215aa325fed7.png

 

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There is capacity for 500-600 people, 80 truck-trailers and 20 cars. 

 

So Assuming that plenty of the 80 trucks are LPG fueled, you know, the trucks with all of the gas cylinders bolted to the back of the cab, and that a large proportion of the trailers are carrying petroleum products or chemicals, add to that 20 cars, petrol or LPG fueled and 600 people. No potential disaster there right? "Here you are folks, welcome to your VIP cabin strategically located on top of our floating bomb, have a nice stay". 

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47 minutes ago, treetops said:

 

The Thai one is 27 years old and has had a few previous names:

 

image.png.0e46752fc9a525b7db1f967e9f1852d8.png

 

This is the current Japanese Blue Dolphin ferry:

image.png.6b1ae210e569d1da0303215aa325fed7.png

 

80 truck and trailer units...might be a bit of a squeeze.

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1 hour ago, Catkiwi said:

So Assuming that plenty of the 80 trucks are LPG fueled, you know, the trucks with all of the gas cylinders bolted to the back of the cab, and that a large proportion of the trailers are carrying petroleum products or chemicals, add to that 20 cars, petrol or LPG fueled and 600 people. No potential disaster there right? "Here you are folks, welcome to your VIP cabin strategically located on top of our floating bomb, have a nice stay". 

 

You don't fancy being on the inauguaral (or subsequent - if lucky) sailing then? 555

 

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2 minutes ago, soi3eddie said:

 

You don't fancy being on the inauguaral (or subsequent - if lucky) sailing then? 555

 

555 Maybe give it a miss thanks Eddie!

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43 minutes ago, NCC1701A said:

can we please just work on getting the Hua Hin to Pattaya ferry working again so I can get out of here. 

Try a Fairy if you want to really get out there NC1701A...🤪

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4 hours ago, Kerryd said:


Just did some searching and found that there are 2 "Blue Dolphin" RoRo ships (as well as a whack of other vessels also named "Blue Dolphin"). It seems the one the Thai operator has was originally the "Horus", built in a Japanese shipyard and launched in 1994. (Renamed the Panstar Honey in 2007 and then the Blue Dolphin in 2010 when it went into service with a different Japanese company - Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry.)

The Japanese ship (MMSI 431008386) was built in 2016 apparently and is currently operating in Japan as you noted.

The "Thai" (registered) ship (MMSI 567071500) was built in 1994 and is currently anchored just off Laem Chabang. Prior to it's arrival in Thai waters, it had been last anchored in Busan, South Korea.

Sheesh, talk about confusion. Wiki Commons shows both ships as being named "Blue Dolphin" and entering service with that same Japanese Ferry company, with the older ship supposedly in 2010 and the newer one in 2016.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:IMO_9100437
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:IMO_9773818

OK. It took awhile but I sort of have it worked out now. 
The ship the Thai company will be using is the one in the photo posted earlier. Formerly the Horus, then the Panstar Honey, then the Blue Dolphin (or Blue Dolphin 2 depending on which site you look at).

                                                 The "Horus" (2007 photo)                                                                                       The "Panstar Honey" (2007-2010)
861413101_TheHorus-2007photo.jpg.853c80431b7b8b6c172d71031b747a26.jpg  1403285994_PanstarHoney.jpg.712dd1a9224a76ba6a1f6f6c774ed539.jpg


The Seahorse "Blue Dolphin" (2010 - current as far as the name is concerned)                                                             
(Anchored at Laem Chabang currently.)
                                                                                                                                                                                The newer (2016) Blue Dolphin still in Japan.
239024136_SeahorseBlueDolphin.jpg.464c13c079e630a0588902045a910d5a.jpg   644863198_2016BLUEDOLPHIN-b.thumb.jpg.ca454ee8c4c8e158b7ee437847d939f0.jpg

Will be interesting to see what the fares will be.
Personally, I'd be interested as I don't want to ride all the way to Songkla just to turn around and ride back a day or 2 later (in my quest to visit every province in the country). A one way trip there would let me wrap up all the Southern provinces and then take a leisurely ride back with some stop overs in Phuket and Ranong maybe.

(It would probably be better to be on the first few voyages and not during the rainy season. One would hope that the ship has had a decent overhaul and would be mechanically sound for at least the first few months. Once it's missed a few "maintenance cycles" (i.e. oil/filter changes and routine maintenance) and they start sailing in monsoon season, it could be a bit dicier.

After all, it's not like they wouldn't skip any maintenance or overload the ship and sail through heavy monsoons or anything. :whistling:

 

Thanks for the detailed information.

 

Seems, this time they chose at least a vessel, which should be suited for that route.

The Tsugaru Straits, where Horus/Blue Dolphin operated, is not without challenges. Connecting the Sea of Japan with the Pacific, it has strong westerly currents up to 6 kn, relatively windy in summer, frequent fogs and even some blizzards during winter.

 

In the end, it really drills down to the question, if they made a decent overhaul and what maintenance routines they use.

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, HammerMan said:

Its interesting reading the many sarcastic and critical comments amid a great deal of speculation. So just to clarify..  The vessel is now called "The Blue Dolphin", formerly 'Blue Dolphin 2". It is/was in an excellent maintained condition and on arrival in Thailand spent 24 days in the Unithai dry dock getting a thorough overhaul and upgrade where necessary. The Marine Department set very strict conditions, especially where safety is concerned, well in excess of normal requirements for a Thai Domestic service. The idea that we will be operating the vessel allowing trucks laden with dangerous goods/liquids is ridiculous and shows the limited knowledge of the person writing such stupid comments. At this point in time the vessel is frustratingly sitting off Laemchabang whilst awaiting completion of all Government required formalities. The current target is to start 1st March 2021 between Chuksamet (Sattahip) to Prachuap, Bang Saphan.  

Well put!

 

Thanks for the update. I'm ready to try this new service.

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14 minutes ago, HammerMan said:

Its interesting reading the many sarcastic and critical comments amid a great deal of speculation. So just to clarify..  The vessel is now called "The Blue Dolphin", formerly 'Blue Dolphin 2". It is/was in an excellent maintained condition and on arrival in Thailand spent 24 days in the Unithai dry dock getting a thorough overhaul and upgrade where necessary. The Marine Department set very strict conditions, especially where safety is concerned, well in excess of normal requirements for a Thai Domestic service. The idea that we will be operating the vessel allowing trucks laden with dangerous goods/liquids is ridiculous and shows the limited knowledge of the person writing such stupid comments. At this point in time the vessel is frustratingly sitting off Laemchabang whilst awaiting completion of all Government required formalities. The current target is to start 1st March 2021 between Chuksamet (Sattahip) to Prachuap, Bang Saphan.  

 

I was expecting it to go initially to Songkhla. Now it appears only to Prachuap. I have looked at the website but not able to get prices or book yet. Any idea on Songkhla sailings please?

 

 

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Initially the service will run between Sattahip and Prachuap. Songkhla still remains an option, but so far berthing at a suitable location remains a challenge. We are planning a 2nd vessel in the coming months and a 3rd vessel early 2022. We may try a test run to Songkhla, but for the current situation service will only be between Sattahip and Prachuap. Pricing and schedules will be announced soon as certain port costs are still being renegotiated with the port authorities (again) but they will be affordable and logical. 

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6 minutes ago, HammerMan said:

Initially the service will run between Sattahip and Prachuap. Songkhla still remains an option, but so far berthing at a suitable location remains a challenge. We are planning a 2nd vessel in the coming months and a 3rd vessel early 2022. We may try a test run to Songkhla, but for the current situation service will only be between Sattahip and Prachuap. Pricing and schedules will be announced soon as certain port costs are still being renegotiated with the port authorities (again) but they will be affordable and logical. 

 

Thanks. I was looking forward to doing a Songklha trip next month. Still would do Prachuap as aiming to get to to Chumphon and Surat Thani without riding around Bangkok. Can you keep us updated here once schedules, costs and bookings are available please?

 

 

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I wish that this had been available about 3 years ago when myself & good lady did our Southern Thailand trip right down the Andaman sea to Satun & back up the Gulf coast, the drive from Pattaya, through BKK and then to start driving down past Hua Hin to Prachuapr Kiri Khan was a real drag, no toilet breaks available for far too long, when it's up and running I quite fancy a few more days over the other side without that horrible drive. 😎

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On 2/20/2021 at 12:28 PM, HammerMan said:

Currently we are still stuck completing procedures, primarily by the Customs department and additionally by unclear instructions on Covid-19 regulations. Currently for some bizarre reason domestic vessels are restricted from entering Prachuap port, you can of course drive to Prachuap in any vehicle of your choice, train, trucks, motorbikes and buses etc.. but traveling by ferry appears unreasonably restricted..  However, we'll keep pushing forward and hopefully we'll finally clear these endless hurdles. Will update accordingly.

It's a shame that there are so many negative posts about this service, will there be a licensed  bar on board ? And I appreciate that this is a Thai service but will there be Western food available ? So much nicer than driving. 👍🏻

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17 hours ago, Golden Triangle said:

It's a shame that there are so many negative posts about this service, will there be a licensed  bar on board ? And I appreciate that this is a Thai service but will there be Western food available ? So much nicer than driving. 👍🏻

Very valid questions. With the current Covid-19 restrictions we are limited to several vending machines being available. However long term we hope that hot food and drinks will be available and a store similar to 711 supplying additional food and drinks.

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51 minutes ago, steve187 said:

what's the latest news

Indeed.
Wasn't this supposed to have been running as of 1 March ?

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On 2/20/2021 at 12:28 PM, HammerMan said:

Currently we are still stuck completing procedures, primarily by the Customs department and additionally by unclear instructions on Covid-19 regulations. Currently for some bizarre reason domestic vessels are restricted from entering Prachuap port, you can of course drive to Prachuap in any vehicle of your choice, train, trucks, motorbikes and buses etc.. but traveling by ferry appears unreasonably restricted..  However, we'll keep pushing forward and hopefully we'll finally clear these endless hurdles. Will update accordingly.

Any news?

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Checking a bit shows no change (or news) on their website or Facebook page and the ship is still anchored off Laem Chabang.

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/shipid:661072/zoom:12

https://www.facebook.com/fb.seahorseferriesofficial/?ref=page_internal

https://www.seahorse-ferries.com/Home/Home.aspx

 

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I can,t see this operating soon. They bought, I assume, an expensive boat ,and did not check PKK berthing rules or problems at Songkhla with landing there.? I am going south in May - lets see if is ready.?

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If I was the insurance company (assuming the ship is insured) I'd be really wary of a sudden, mysterious fire breaking out on that vessel if it doesn't start working soon. Too much money tied up in that to have it sitting idle at anchor for months on end.

And considering how little they've done as far as the website and facebook pages are concerned, it really doesn't look like they are putting any effort into getting this thing running. Ever.

Odd. I'd posted awhile ago (last month) about how their booking system on the website didn't work and things like spelling errors where "brunch" was used instead of "branch" (as in, they have "Sattahip Brunch" and "Songkla Brunch" when they should have had "Sattahip Branch" and "Songkla Branch").

That post seems to have disappeared for some reason. (Or was that in the other thread ? Nope, checked the other thread and it's not there either.)

In any event, not a thing has changed on the Facebook page or website in over a month either.

Too bad. It would have been an interesting option to get to other parts of the country.

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14 hours ago, Kerryd said:

If I was the insurance company (assuming the ship is insured) I'd be really wary of a sudden, mysterious fire breaking out on that vessel if it doesn't start working soon. Too much money tied up in that to have it sitting idle at anchor for months on end.

And considering how little they've done as far as the website and facebook pages are concerned, it really doesn't look like they are putting any effort into getting this thing running. Ever.

Odd. I'd posted awhile ago (last month) about how their booking system on the website didn't work and things like spelling errors where "brunch" was used instead of "branch" (as in, they have "Sattahip Brunch" and "Songkla Brunch" when they should have had "Sattahip Branch" and "Songkla Branch").

That post seems to have disappeared for some reason. (Or was that in the other thread ? Nope, checked the other thread and it's not there either.)

In any event, not a thing has changed on the Facebook page or website in over a month either.

Too bad. It would have been an interesting option to get to other parts of the country.

Your post is still there - near top of page 2 (Feb 18th). Google search takes seconds!! 

https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/1206455-video-sattahip-to-songkhla-ferry-start-imminent-cabins-available-on-200-million-baht-second-hand-boat-from-japan/page/2/

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