Phuket weather delays salvage of sunken cargo vessel

PHUKET: Efforts to salvage the cargo ship Unity, which sunk in high seas on its way to Phi Phi Island last week (story here), have been postponed until tomorrow due to the current spate of bad weather.

“We will begin the recovery of the ship tomorrow, as today we have been preparing the machinery and the equipment needed to recover the boat,” the owner of the ship, Somphone Boonyarak, told the Phuket Gazette this afternoon.

“We expect the task to be completed before Friday,” she said.

Salvage efforts to recover the Unity have been repeatedly postponed since Saturday due to bad weather (story here).

“The total cost of damage is expected to not exceed 10 million baht in total, including the goods on board and the boat,” Ms Somphone said.

“I have hired a dive company to check on the boat. We hope it can be used again,” she said.

The boat is currently resting on the seabed at a depth of only about five meters, with one end of the boat breaking the surface.

Marine Officers have marked the sunken vessel with a buoy and light so other marine traffic travelling between Krabi and Phi Phi Island can avoid it.

The ship had been carrying food, construction equipment and other supplies originally destined for Phi Phi Island. Shortly after passing Koh Por Da, it was struck by large waves up to four meters high, causing it to capsize, boat captain Thaweep Choonoon said.

“Water started coming into the boat and it began to sink, so I shouted to my crew to jump off and to hold onto any plastic package that could float in the sea. We were floating for about two hours before being rescued by another boat,” he said.

All crew members were safely rescued and discharged from Krabi hospital without serious injury.

Ms Somphone was thankful the incident did not cost any lives.

“When I heard that the boat had sunk, the first thing I thought about was my crew. There were 11 people on the boat that day,” she explained.

“When I heard that one of them was missing, I was frightened. I thought I had lost him,” she said.

“It’s so great that he is alright.”

— Shela Riva

Phuket News
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