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Phuket can accommodate liberty parties up to a maximum of 3,000 personnel. Because of this relatively small number, aircraft carriers do not visit Phuket for liberty purposes. As a comparison, Pattaya can accommodate liberty parties of up to 10,000 personnel.

The island of Phuket is located on the west side of the Malay Peninsula. Phuket Island is irregularly shaped, with a north-south length of approximately 26 nmi and an approximate east-west average width of 8 nmi. Two areas of the island are of interest to this evaluation: Patong Bay on the west side of the island, and Makham Bay on the southeast side of the island.

Phuket is one of many islands along the western coast of Thailand and the Malay Peninsula. The island is located in the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of peninsular Thailand. Phuket city, located in the southeastern portion of the island, is a major port and commercial center on the Andaman Sea. Its harbor exports tin, rubber, charcoal, lumber, and fish products south to Malaysia and Singapore and north to Myanmar (Burma). Rice and manufactures are imported. The city airport has regular flights to Bangkok, towns of southern Thailand, and George Town, Malaysia.

The island's area of 210 square miles is mostly level land but is dotted with isolated hills that reach a height of 1,700 feet. It was settled as early as the 1st century BC. The island was part of various Thai states from an early time and was incorporated into the Ayutthaya kingdom about the 16th century. After the 18th century, large numbers of Chinese arrived; and more than half the population is now Chinese. Called Ujong Salang ("Cape Salang") by Malays, the island has also been known as Tongka, Junk Ceylon, and Jonsalam.

Phuket is noted for its rich tin mines. The ore, found in lowland gravels and on the shallow sea floor, is mined by river and ocean boat dredges and pumps. The island has also become a major seaside resort. It is reached by bridge from the mainland to the north across a narrow strait. A road links the major settlements of Thalang, Phuket, and Ban Rawai. Pop. (1992 est.) city, 56,673; island, 188,535.

Patong Bay, located at approximately 754'N 9817'E, is the anchorage used by US Navy ships during the winter season (November through April) . Makham Bay, located at approximately 749'N 9825'E, is the anchorage used by US Navy ships during the southwest monsoon, which prevails during the summer season (April through November). Patong Bay is protected from the northeasterly winds that prevail during the winter season, and Makham Bay is protected from the summertime southwest monsoon winds. According to a local authority, the decision to switch locations from Patong Bay to Makham Bay, and vice versa, is made sometime in November and April and varies from year to year. The date is dependent on the time of onset and cessation of the southwest monsoon.

There is no commercial or military port on the west side of Phuket Island. US Navy ships anchor in outer Patong Bay in 39 to 49 ft (12 to 15 m) depths. Holding is reported good on a mud and sand bottom. A Fleet Landing is established at a temporary pier extending from the beach in the southeast part of Patong Bay. Liberty parties are ferried to and from the Fleet Landing and the anchored ships by locally chartered watercraft.

Makham Bay is located adjacent to the commercial port of Phuket on the southeast side of Phuket Island . US Navy ships anchor in 39 ft (12 m) depths on a soft bottom of unspecified holding quality. A Fleet Landing is established at the northwest end of the pier.

The Port of Phuket has one pier with two berths. The pier has a total length of 1,181 ft (360 m) and a deck height of 18 ft (5.5 m). Maximum allowable vessel length is 590 ft (180 m). Alongside depth at both berths is 33 ft (10 m). Maximum allowable vessel draft is 28 ft (8.5 m). Although US Navy ships (DDGs and FFGs) have moored to the pier in the past, they no longer do so because of port charges. The use of a harbor pilot and tug boat is compulsory for ships intending to moor alongside the pier. Single screw ships under 446 ft (136 m) long and longer vessels with bow or stem thrusters require one tug. Single screw ships 446 ft (136 m) long or longer require the use of two tugs. However, since the port maintains only one 1,600 hp tug boat, the requirement for a second tug is obviated by the lack of available tug boat resources.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) maintains a port facility at Pang-Nga. Pang-Nga is located approximately 40 nmi north of Patong Bay in a well protected inlet on the west side of the Malay Peninsula. The main pier at the installation is small, and is capable of berthing only one frigate or similar sized vessel. Channel specifications from the Andaman Sea to the port are not available.

The entrance channel to the Port of Phuket is 394 ft (120 m) wide, and has a depth of 29.5 ft (9 m). Maximum allowable draft in the channel is 28 ft (8.5 m). Local harbor authorities state the channel is easy to navigate during northeast or southwest winds although the winds would be broad on the beam of any vessel in the channel. Because of the on-setting forces, northeast winds make it more difficult to get a ship with a large sail area underway from the pier. Local authorities state that the submerged hull of a wrecked vessel is located just east of the east end of the breakwater south of the south end of the Port of Phuket pier. Although the wreck is said to be clear of the channels, caution is advised when passing abeam of the wreck. There is no specified channel for ships approaching or departing the anchorage area off Patong Beach.

Phuket is not a typhoon haven. The anchorages in Patong Bay and Makham Bay are exposed and vulnerable to winds and seas if a tropical cyclone should pass near the island. There are no known harbors near Phuket Island that would provide adequate shelter during a tropical cyclone passage.

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