Wednesday, 2 November 2016, at 15.00, it was exactly 50 years ago since Jorgen Lundbaek arrived Thailand for the first time. He flew in from Saigon on a vacation from his job there, where he was working for an American company Alaska Barbs and Transport which had a contract with the US to distribute bombs and ammunition to the American forces and also clearing the bombs that went into the waterways without detonating.
Obviously, he liked to be in Thailand since today, 50 years later, he is still here.
“Here, I got a similar job for an American company CONAM which had a US contract to distribute ammunition to the American forces based in Thailand,” he says.
“I started after my vacation on 1 January 1967. We picked up the ammunition from Satthahip Naval Base and took it up to the warehouses in Bangkok and send it onwards to the bases upcountry. Later, in 1968 I changed to work at Marine Surveyors Thailand Company Limited where I worked with Sven Marquardsen, another Dane who died a few years back, and Captain Bent, a British national despite the name.”
At that time, when you got an employment and a work permit, you also automatically was given a residence permit, so Jorgen Lundbaek has been a permanent resident of Thailand since 1967. Later, he also obtained a Thai citizenship.
It was while working with Marine Surveyors Thailand that Jorgen Lundbaek saw an opportunity to start up his first Mermaid company providing safety equipment to ships and offshore structures, including underwater welding – a business in which he is still active although today from his company in Vietnam, which he established in 2004.
In Bangkok, where Jorgen Lundbaek lives, he is busy managing his hotel, Mermaid Hotel Bangkok on Sukhumvit Soi 29.