HTMS Chon Buri fires at another Thai vessel, 14 sailors hurt (video)

Photo via Facebook/ Thai Navy warships เรือรบราชนาวีไทย

A near-catastrophe unfolded yesterday when the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) ship HTMS Chon Buri inadvertently discharged its weapon, firing at another naval ship, HTMS Khirirat, causing injuries to 14 sailors aboard HTMS Khirirat.

HTMS Chon Buri docked at Laem Thian Pier within the Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri province, had just completed training on March 13. While the vessel emerged unscathed from most of the exercises, a malfunction occurred in its main gun, resulting in a 76mm round becoming lodged in the barrel.

On the day of the accident, yesterday, March 14, RTN technicians were working to remove the bullet from the main gun when the gun accidentally fired and hit the nearby docked naval ship, HTMS Khirirat.

The shooting at point-blank range caused an explosion and fire, injuring 14 sailors who were standing by on the deck of the ship. RTN officials managed to control the fire and rushed the injured officers to Somdech Phra Nangchao Sirikit Hospital.

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RTN spokesperson Weerudom Muangjeen reported that HTMS Khirirat sustained minor damage to its rear but insisted that the ship remained capable of operating despite the damage.

Channel 3 reported that eight sailors were discharged from the hospital while the others remain under treatment. RTN Commander Adung Phan-iam insisted that the condition of the six officers was not serious. Most of the officers suffered from smoke suffocation and that they would recover soon

Safety procedures

Adung stated that he had ordered his subordinates to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accidental shooting and report to him within three days.

Adung also mentioned that he would refrain from discussing the cause of the accident at present to avoid complications and misunderstandings, urging the media to await a thorough investigation.

MGR Online reported that the accident might have occurred due to a failure to follow training and safety procedures. HTMS Chon Buri was required to dock at the pier of the Naval Ordnance after training because the location was isolated from the residential community and had no other ships at the dock.

At the Naval Ordnance’s pier, technicians were tasked with inspecting and rectifying any malfunctions before the ship returned to its main pier. However, HTMS Chon Buri disregarded these safety protocols and opted to head back to its main dock, Laem Thian Pier, immediately after training.

According to media reports, during repair operations, the gun barrel should be positioned at an angle of over 45 degrees from the horizontal to enable any accidental shots to be fired into the sky. It appears that in this instance, the barrel may have been left at a horizontal angle, resulting in the shot being discharged towards a nearby ship.

MGR Online further stated that this incident marked the first occurrence in the history of the RTN where Thai naval vessels had fired upon each other.

Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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