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Navy ship sinks in storm, 31 crew missing

BANG SAPHAN: An air search was launched today (Dec 19) for 31 missing crew members of the navy corvette HTMS Sutkhothai, which sank during a storm in the Gulf of Thailand last night.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 19 December 2022, 11:05AM

HTMS Sukhothai lies on its side before sinking in the sea off Bang Saphan district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, last night (Dec 18). Photo: Royal Thai Navy

HTMS Sukhothai lies on its side before sinking in the sea off Bang Saphan district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, last night (Dec 18). Photo: Royal Thai Navy

Dornier planes and Seahawk helicopters joined surface vessels in the search for the missing crew, all believed to be afloat in the stormy sea wearing life jackets, reports the Bangkok Post.

HTMS Sukhothai after the ship sank off Prachuap Khiri Khan about 11:30pm last night, navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatpalin said.

The corvette was on patrol about 20 nautical miles offshore from Bang Saphan district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. It was pounded by high waves during the storm and listed about 60 degrees to starboard as seawater poured into the ship.

HTMS Sukhothai suffered a power blackout. The main engine stopped functioning and the ship floundered out of control. More water flowed into the vessel, which continued to list to starboard.

The navy launched an immediate rescue, dispatching HTMS Angthong, HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej, HTMS Kraburi and two helicopters with rescue equipment to the scene.

Internal - Phuket News TV

HTMS Kraburi was first to arrive and began rescuing crew members from the sinking ship and from the sea. HTMS Sukhothai finally sank about 11:30pm.

A report on the rescue operation issued by the navy at 7am today said 78 the 106 crew of HTMS Sukhothai had been brought to the port of Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Three of them were seriously injured. The rest had not yet arrived.

A later update said 31 crew members were still missing and an air and sea search was underway to find and rescue them.

HTMS Sukhothai was built by Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, in Tacoma, Washington, USA, and commissioned on Feb 19, 1987. It had been in operation for nearly 36 years. It was equipped for air defence, sea combat and anti-submarine operations.

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DeKaaskopp | 20 December 2022 - 13:03:12

"Flat mirror sea seaman" Oh dear Mr.Big Mouth.I bet you would have been the first person wetting his pants if you had been on that ship that night.

Kurt | 20 December 2022 - 11:58:59

The vessel lays on depth of 40 metres. Easy to lift. Save the environment! There are fuel, diesel oil and other environment polluting stuf on board.

Kurt | 20 December 2022 - 10:43:51

It must have been a lot of seawater poured in and made (?) the engines and pump generators stopped, including the back up systems, that navy ships always have. Something was wrong on board that vessel. Imagine it sailing in the North Atlantic or pacific Ocean? It would have there for sure had a quick sank.

Kurt | 20 December 2022 - 10:23:39

Dek, we know it's not the navy who sails to the tsunami buoys. I didn't say that. But Navy and that Dept that sails to the bouys out there are all 'flat mirror sea' seamen. Oh, remember, prior leaving for the buoys, there was a navy admiral on board of the buoy vessel to wave them out.  :-) Remember? Guess was just for a thai photo session.

JohnC | 20 December 2022 - 09:46:47

Having worked on ships at sea for many years it is hard to understand how a vessel of this size and structure could so easily succumb to relatively minor storm conditions. Crew training may be a cause. Any time leaving port the first thing deck crew did was make sure the vessel was all secure for sea passage and inform officer of the watch. Standard practice worldwide no matter the sea conditions.

JohnC | 20 December 2022 - 09:37:25

Votes for the most racist, bigoted, annoying and ridiculous comments of 2022 goes to.... Kurt!

DeKaaskopp | 19 December 2022 - 15:31:39

Kurt, the Thai Navy isn't responsible for the Tsunami buoys ! Surprised you don't know as you are such an expert on everything !But at least you are nearing the 2000 comments mark in 2022 again ! 

Pascale | 19 December 2022 - 13:59:07

Aaah, our bath tub captain is on it again ! 

Kurt | 19 December 2022 - 12:39:35

A ship is as seaworthy as the crew is. Closing watertight doors and deck openings prevent water coming in. Than a vessel keeps stability, if it had sufficieny stability prior the engine failure! How strong was the wind force in BF? I heard it was 5 BF, hardly able to cause this sinking affair. Lack of competence, maintenance here. Probably sailing with leading officers who bought their rank.

Kurt | 19 December 2022 - 11:56:25

Main engine stopped. really? Did crew close all water tide doors, and used sea-anchors to ride the waves behind it until improving sea conditions? Well, hope they find the missing crew members. Thai Navy is a flat sea navy. Please, no waves, no wind. Know why the tsunami buoys were so long out of order, They just not dare to sail to the positions if the sea is not mirror flat.


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