Sufficient life jackets on HTMS Sukhothai – RTN

Salvaging the Sukhothai costly and perilous

The Naval Supply Department insisted that there were 130 life jackets on HTMS Sukhothai when it sank in December, more than enough for the 105 crew.

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet yesterday said that the RTN is finding out why some of the survivors claimed that there were not enough life jackets on HTMS Sukhothai.

Regarding the cause of the disaster, Choengchai said initial findings show that the ship took on more water than could not be pumped out effectively.

Salvaging the wreck from the Gulf of Thailand could cost over 200 million baht, Choengchai said.

The corvette-class ship is lying at a depth of about 50 metres and recovering it could cause damage that will make it more difficult to determine why it sank, the admiral said. The RTN is looking for a contractor to salvage the vessel.

About 32 kilometres off the coast of Prachuap Khiri, the ship sank in heavy seas with 105 crew aboard. Seventy-six were rescued, and the bodies of 24 others have been recovered.

Two million baht (US$60,000) has been paid in compensation so far to the families of the deceased from the ship’s life insurance policy and the RTN’s Ruam Jai Fund. The RTN must wait for the court to officially declare the five lost crew members missing before paying compensation to their families

‘Not wearing life jackets

The investigating committee has interviewed 289 witnesses, including surviving crew and the volunteers who participated in the search and rescue mission.

The RTN is also investigating why some crew members found, both alive and dead, were not wearing life jackets, he added. Questions were raised over life jackets on HTMS Sukhothai when survivors were found in the water without any floatation aids.

The RTN now wants 15 billion baht (about US $460 million) from the government over the next five years to buy a new frigate, to be built in Thailand.

Thailand NewsThailand Weather UpdatesTransport 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.

Related Articles