The Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre Area 3 (THAI-MECC 3), a major operations unit at the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command based at Cape Panwa, reported that it had received a request for help from the ship, the Schumi 7, at 5:30pm on Monday (Mar 7).
The crewman who made contact was Noppadol Boonmee, who said he and other crewmen wanted to be brought ashore.
Mr Noppadol said that he had signed a nine-month contract to work on board the vessel, but that it had been 13 months since the ship last made port in Phuket. The claim was verified by the Phuket port officials of the Marine Department.
The Schumi 7, a Thai-registered LPG tanker weighing 4,961 gross tonnes, was about seven nautical miles offshore from Thap Lamu in Phang Nga when Mr Noppadol contacted the Navy. The ship was en route to deliver LPG to Bangladesh.
The Third Area Command, which has a naval base at Thap Lamu, dispatched the HMTS Laem Sing and patrol boat Tor 229 with labour officials on board. The Navy intercepted the Schumi 7 at about 8pm.
There were 18 crewmen on the tanker, under the command of Captain Suthichai Duangdara. Five of them, including Mr Boonmee, confirmed they wanted to leave the vessel.
The tanker was then escorted back Ao Makham, on Phuket’s east coast.
All of the crewmen were tested for COVID-19 by ATK before being allowed to disembark the ship. All of them tested negative.
At last report officials were examining the employment contracts and investigating the employment conditions on the ship to determine whether legal action were to be taken.