Raise the Sukhothai – salvage companies to bid for 100-million-baht contract

Private salvage companies are being asked to bid to raise the Sukhothai, according to Royal Thai Navy (RTN) sources.

HTMS Sukhothai, a corvette-class warship sank in the Gulf of Thailand about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province when it was capsized by 4-metre waves and strong winds.

Officers are assessing the damage to the Sukhothai using images from a submersible, according to Admiral Adung Phan-iam, commander of the fleet. They are developing plans to salvage the wreck, before seeking approval and a budget.

Adung said that he expects bidding to be held in 1-2 weeks. The Naval Dockyard Department will oversee the salvage operation.

The admiral said that after it is salvaged, whether the ship will be repaired or not will depend on the damage.

Navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin told a press conference on Friday that the navy lacks the expertise to salvage sunken ships, so it will hire a private company to do the job.

The ship has to be salvaged to prevent its oil from leaking, according to Pokkrong. Oil would be disastrous for marine life.

He has budgeted 100 million (US$3 million) baht to raise HTMS Sukhothai but, as in any government project, the contract will be awarded through a bidding process.

Pokkrong said…

“The ship went down to a depth of only 40 metres, so its wreckage could still block the passage of other vessels.”

HTMS Sukhothai had a complement of 106 crew, but only 105 were on board when it foundered, with the chief engineer being on leave. The bodies of 26 sailors have been recovered and five remain missing. Search and rescue operations for the missing sailors remain active. The Royal Thai Air Force and volunteer diving teams are participating in the search.

The Sukhothai departed from Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri province to perform manoeuvres in the Gulf of Thailand.

Environment News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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