Salvaging sunken warship will cost 100 million, Navy says
It will cost about 100 million baht to salvage the HTMS Sukhothai and a private contractor will have to be hired to do the job, according to the Royal Thai Navy.
Navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin told a press on Friday that the navy lacks the expertise to salvage sunken ships, so it has to hire a private company to do the job.
It has budgeted 100 million baht to salvage the vessel and, as in any other government project, a contract will be awarded through a bidding process, Pokkrong said.
The HTMS Sukhothai corvette warship sank in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province after it was knocked over by four-metre waves and strong winds.
The vessel was carrying 105 military personnel. The bodies of six sailors have been recovered and 23 remain missing.
Search and rescue operations for the missing sailors remain active. The Royal Thai Air Force and volunteer diving teams are participating in the search.
The salvaging mission will be launched after the vessel’s missing crew members are located, Pokkrong said.
The ship has to be salvaged to prevent its oil from leaking, he said, adding that leaking oil would be disastrous for marine life.
“The ship went down to a depth of only 40 metres, so its wreckage could still block the path of other vessels,” Pokkrong said. By comparison, the Titanic sank to about 100 metres, he said.
The spokesman described the sinking of HTMS Sukhothai as a “historic loss” to the navy, with estimated damages of over 1 billion baht, excluding the cost of lost lives.