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Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

PHUKET: The Chief of the Phuket Marine Office today confirmed that the plan to raise the sunken tour boat Phoenix is to be fully revised after one of the tethers broke while the salvage operators were trying to move the boat underwater – but not actually raise it.

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By The Phuket News

Monday 24 September 2018, 05:55PM


The plan to raise the sunken tour boat ’Phoenix’ has been scrapped temporarily after one of the tethers broke. Photo: PR Dept / file

The plan to raise the sunken tour boat ’Phoenix’ has been scrapped temporarily after one of the tethers broke. Photo: PR Dept / file

The news to temporarily scrap the plan to raise the Phoenix was revealed today (Sept 24) by Wiwat Chitchertwong, who is currently the Acting Director of the Phuket Marine Office.

Mr Wiwat was installed as Acting Director of the Phuket Marine Office after the previous director was transferred in the wake of the Phoenix tour boat disaster on July 5 that killed 47 Chinese tourists, sending the Phoenix to the seabed 45 metres below the water’s surface some 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei (Coral Island),

At last report, on Friday (Sept 21), the salvage team were making the final preparations to raise the Phoenix. (See story here.)

However, Mr Wiwat confirmed to The Phuket News today, “The salvage of Phoenix boat has been suspended because the rope (sic) that was being used to pull the boat through the water broke while we were moving the boat.

“The rope broke when we were moving the boat about 400 meters from where it sank,” he added.

Mr Wiwat explained that the plan was to lift the Phoenix off the seabed and and drag it closer to shore while it was still fully submerged, and then float it to the surface.

However, the plan came apart when the tether broke while the salvage team were dragging the boat underwater, sometime between last Friday and today.

Mr Wiwat declined to answer when the incident occurred.

“I will not reveal or explain more details,” he said.

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However, Mr Wiwat added, “Today I ordered for a new plan from the dive team to salvage the boat, then we will be able to start the process again.”

No deadline for presenting the new plan was revealed.

“I just ordered the dive team to make a new plan today. They will survey the boat again and tomorrow will start to continue with the project,” Mr Wiwat said.

“We will try our best. I believe our work will go well, because there is good weather at this time,” Mr Wiwat added.

Mr Wiwat, however, declined to identify which company had been hired to salvage the vessel.

Marine Department Director-General Jirut Wisanjit, while in Phuket on Aug 8 to announce that the Phoenix will be raised “this week”, explained at the time that the Marine Department on July 11 had ordered the owner of the Phoenix – 26-year-old Phuket resident Woralak Rerkchaikarn – to recover the boat from the bottom of the bay, giving her 20 days to complete the recovery.

“With the deadline passing on July 31 and no action taken to recover the Phoenix, the Marine Department will do it and order the boat owner to pay for the cost of the recovery,” Mr Jirut said.

“The cost is about B10 million, for which we have which hired a private company to carry out the salvage,” he added. (See story here.)

 

 

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Timothy | 25 September 2018 - 08:45:43

"He declined to mention what company was hired". That's because it is more than likely a company owned by friends, with absolutely no experience in marine salvage. They are trying to drag the boat along the bottom (2 miles or so) to shore??? That's their big plan? What happened to the oil drums and balloons? What a complete joke.  

Kurt | 25 September 2018 - 08:14:44

Not much drawing board, haha. Wrote yesterday about expecting failure, deliberately or due to foolishness. (Was not placed by PN, with respect). Small wreck, lift it only vertical by crane and put it straight on barge. Dragging it horizontal below surface calls up a enormous resistance, thai slings/lines break. Unique 'salvage attempt'. What are the salvage records of this private company?

Rorri_2 | 25 September 2018 - 06:03:46

"“I will not reveal or explain more details,” he said," definately hiding something, if it was simply a broken tether rope, the just replace it.... what really went wrong, get Alan Morison and colleague Chutima Sidasathian onto it, at least they had the balls to investigate.

BenPendejo | 24 September 2018 - 23:15:14

Classic!...So the best idea that they all agreed on was to tow it umpteen miles under water...Like a blimp in a Christmas parade. Simply classic...and the fact that they didn't even get 400 meters before going "kaput" proved what an idiotic idea it was. Everyone involved in this fiasco has so much feces on their faces that you can't help but laugh about it. I think Khun Wiwat nee...

vegasbaby | 24 September 2018 - 18:37:58

Corruption on top of incompetence...someone will steal the 10 million baht and the boat will never be raised.  Welcome to Thailand.

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