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Navy defends efforts to find missing fishing crew

Navy defends efforts to find missing fishing crew

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, based at Cape Panwa, has defended its efforts to locate a fishing boat and three crew on board that have been missing for 18 days.

By The Phuket News

Monday 6 February 2023, 11:07AM

Local fishing boat Sor Sakulphet, measuring three metres wide and 10m long, departed Phuket Fishing Pier on Jan 19, Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yukongkaew, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command 3, told the press yesterday (Feb 5).

The boat had one Thai national, Rung Khamluewong, and two Myanmar nationals on board. The boat was heading out to fish about 120 nautical miles southwest of Phuket, Rear Admiral Arpakorn said.

Since then the boat has been out of contact, he added.

As of today, no person has confirmed seeing the boat or contacting any person on board for 18 days.

“It is expected that the boat may have had an engine failure, causing it to drift with the wind to the southwest,” Rear Admiral Arpakorn said.

The Third Area Command had dispatched Navy boats and aircraft to search the area, but so far without success.

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The Navy’s Coast Guard Operations Unit 452  at La-ngu and Unit and 491 at Koh Lipe, both in Satun province, had been alerted to the situation and coordinated their search efforts.

The network of fishing vessels in the area has also been asked to keep an eye out for the boat, Rear Admiral Arpakorn said.

Today (Feb 6), maritime reconnaissance aircraft DO 228, which are capable of long-range flights, will be dispatched to aid the search efforts, he said.

“We will contact the military operations centres in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Jakarta (Indonesia) and New Delhi (India) to assist in coordinating, investigating and finding out more, in case the boat ends up drifting into the territorial waters of those countries,” Rear Admiral Arpakorn said.

“The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command will continue to monitor the situation,” he assured.

Any person with information that might lead to locating the missing boat were urged to contact the  Third Area Command on the 24-hour hotline 076-391598.

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Kurt | 07 February 2023 - 11:01:02

Seems that this 3 men runned small vessel not has a Automatic Identification System (AIS)  or GMDSS or EPIRB on board. Strange. Or the Phuket Navy receiver was off after office hours.

JohnC | 07 February 2023 - 08:33:19

That is a very tiny boat to be going fishing 120 nm out to sea. It also appears that radio communication was not one of the safety items on board otherwise they would be able to call for help.


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