Tuesday, December 20, 2022

After a warship sinks, the Thai navy is searching for 31 missing sailors

Thai navy searching for 31 missing sailors after warship sinks

 BANGKOK: More than 17 hours after their warship sank in rough seas in the Gulf of Thailand, Thai navy ships and helicopters searched for more than 30 missing sailors. According to the navy, as of Monday afternoon, 31 sailors from the HTMS Sukhothai corvette were still missing and 75 had been rescued.

The high waves that caused the mishap had reduced since Sunday late evening's sinking, however were still sufficiently high to imperil little boats, the naval force said.

Thai PBS television interviewed a member of the rescued crew who claimed that before he was rescued, he had to float in the water for three hours.

He claimed that as the ship was sinking on Sunday night, it was buffeted by waves 10 feet (3 meters) high, making rescue efforts more difficult.

"We are unable to search for them from the horizontal line because the waves are still high. Adm. Pokkrong Monthatphalin, a navy spokesperson, told Thai PBS that "we have to fly the helicopters and search for them from a bird's eye view instead."

The hospital was treating eleven of the saved sailors. The navy claimed that the fatality was caused by an accident involving another boat, refuting a local media report that one death had been confirmed.

On Sunday evening, the HTMS Sukhothai was difficult to control due to strong winds that blew seawater onto the ship and destroyed its electrical system.

The strong winds prevented the navy from removing the seawater from the disabled ship, so it sent three frigates and two helicopters equipped with mobile pumping machines.

More seawater entered the vessel as a result of the loss of power, causing it to list and sink.

Just a few hours prior to the accident, Thailand's Meteorological Department had issued a weather advisory for the entire region stating that thundershowers and waves of 2-4 meters (7-14 feet) were anticipated in the Gulf of Thailand.

It advised small vessels not to sail until Tuesday and advised all ships to "proceed with caution."

In 1987, the Sukhothai was launched and launched from Tacoma, Washington. It is about the same size as a corvette, which is a type of armed vessel typically used for patrolling close offshore waters. It has a maximum displacement of 959 tons and a length of 76.8 meters (252 feet).

32 kilometers (20 miles) from the pier in the Bangsaphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, the warship had been on patrol. According to Pokkrong, the ship had been regularly patrolling to assist any fishing boats in need of assistance.

"Rescuing all of the sailors is currently our top priority. We will intend to have the boat rescued later," he said. A 16-square-kilometer (6.2-mile) region around the sinking site was the focus of the search.

While temperatures in northern and central Thailand are at their lowest of the year, storms and flooding have been occurring in far southern Thailand in recent days.

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