Experts studying ways to save iconic James Bond Island

Even nature’s wonders are not immune to the toll of time. And so Thai experts are collaborating to save James Bond Island from crumbling into the sea and ensure that future generations can still marvel at the limestone formation made famous in the Hollywood film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

The 101-foot-tall limestone karst is increasingly in danger of collapse, according to some experts, because of natural erosion at its base. The distinctive formation, just 11.5 feet wide and named Ko Tapu in Thai, rises eerily from the azure waters of Phang Nga Bay adjacent to the southern resort island of Phuket.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varavut Silpa-archa inspected Ko Tapu in earlier this month and was briefed on its condition and efforts to save it.

Sommai Techawan, Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, said that a “Save Ko Tapu” team of experts have been assembled to assess the risk to the islet and create a plan to protect it from the ravages of time.

He added that a “geotechnical survey” was underway. Its aim was to calculate the rate of erosion by use of a 3D-scan geophysical, measurements of wave undulation, marine seismic activity, an echo sounder and hydrographic surveys.

“Once the data is obtained, the team will analyze it in order to draft conservation guidelines, which may be used to strengthen and increase the stability of the foundation without losing the scenery,” Sommai said.

According to the Phuket News website, officials became aware of the impact of marine erosion in the area after several islands “cracked” and had large sections plunge into the waters below.

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