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MV Hope at Langkawi, four more bodies spotted at sea

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PHUKET: The Bangladeshi cargo ship MV Hope, which capsized in heavy seas south of Phuket on Thursday night (story here), is expected to arrive at Langkawi, Malaysia, today after being under tow from its position south of Racha Noi Island overnight.

The news came as local fishermen reported seeing four bodies in life jackets off Koh Rok, off the coast of Krabi, south of Phuket.

After we called off our search mission yesterday [story here], we received a report from a fishing boat that four bodies were spotted near Koh Rok yesterday afternoon,” Capt Thammawat Malaisukkarin, Director of the Naval Civil Affairs, confirmed to the Phuket Gazette.

The Koh Rok Islands (map here), a popular day-trip destination for tourist snorkellers and divers, are located about 100 kilometers southeast of Phuket.

Langkawi, Malaysia’s northernmost island along the Andaman Coast, lies a further 100km south of Koh Rok.

The crew said the bodies they saw were wearing life jackets, but they did not recover them because they were afraid they would become involved in a crime that had been committed,” he explained.

The Royal Thai Navy alerted the local Marine Police and the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centers (Thai-MECC), which effectively operates as the naval coast guard unit, along the southern Andaman coast.

However, the Navy will not be dispatching any ships or aircraft to recover the four bodies.

We will not be dispatching a search and rescue team. If we did, by the time we reached the site, the wind and current could have moved the bodies far from where they were last seen,” Capt Thammawat said.

Regardless, Capt Thammawat urged any one who discovers a body at sea to report it to the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Area Command in Phuket by calling 076-381598 or 076-393584.

The line is open 24 hours. We will contact the Marine Police or the local Marine Office so they can make the appropriate arrangements,” he said.

Nine of the 17 people on board the MV Hope were rescued during the four-day search for survivors (story here).

The two bodies recovered during the search and rescue efforts on Friday (story here) have yet to be identified, staff at Vachira Phuket Hospital this morning confirmed to the Gazette.

Capt Thammawat explained that the MV Confidence, commissioned by insurance company responsible for MV Hope to recover the stricken vessel, began towing MV Hope toward Langkawi at about 10:30pm last night.

It should be there by now,” he said.

The Royal Thai Navy will not be involved in any further efforts involving the MV Hope as it is now out of Thai waters,” Capt Thammawat added.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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