Seven ships will be deployed, he said, naming them as HTMS Angthong, a landing platform dock ship, which will act as a floating hospital; HTMS Saiburi, a guided missile frigate; HTMS Thayan Chon, an anti-submarine frigate; a large landing craft and three patrol boats.
The Saiburi arrived in Phuket’s deep sea port today and the Angthong is expected on Thursday (May 28) after taking part in Guardian Sea, an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Andaman Sea that involved Thai and US naval vessels.
In addition to the seven boats, four naval aircraft will be deployed; a Cessna Skymaster T-337 reconnaissance plane, a Dornier DO-228 maritime patrol aircraft and two Bell 214ST helicopters.
“We believe we can take care of things by ourselves,” Adm Sayan said, an allusion to Thailand’s rejection of an American request to base military aircraft on Phuket for search and rescue purposes.
“The Saiburi is not a ship for rescuing large numbers of people,” the admiral said. But it will carry food and water, and its crew can fix broken engines. If seriously ill people are found on the refugees’ boats, they will be sent to the Angthong to be treated by Navy doctors and nurses.
None will be sent ashore, the admiral added. “We will do everything we can to supply them with humanitarian assistance but we have no place for them to stay in Thailand.
He added, “In any case, it is well known that it is not their purpose to come to Thailand.”
He added that the Thai Navy will patrol an area out to 24 nautical miles west of the Similan Islands, where Thai waters end and international waters begin.
“If they pass through Thai waters we will help them.”
He said that no Rohingyas have been found in Thai waters since May 14, when a desperate group were discovered on a small island in the Surins group.