Bidding for salvaging sunken warship slow, HTMS Sukhothai may be pulled up next year: Navy
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is still working on selecting a company to salvage HTMS Sukhothai and the operation may be completed next year, Navy chief Admiral Adung Phan-iam said.
Adung said on Monday that the salvaging operation is progressing slowly because the Navy wants the warship to be pulled out of water with the minimal damage. He said the Navy wants to find out what caused the ship to sink.
The corvette-class vessel sank in a storm about 20 nautical miles (32 kilometres) off the coast of Bang Saphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan on December 18 last year with 105 crewmembers on board. Of the 105, only 76 were rescued.
Adung said it would be extremely difficult to salvage a vessel from a depth of 50 metres in as complete a condition as possible.
He said the RTN had to study the licences of bidders who wanted to carry out the salvation operation, so the bidding process was taking time.
He added that the bid winner may be selected next month and sent to the Royal Thai Armed Forces for approval right away, so the salvaging operation can begin.
“We expect the HTMS to resurface in either March or April next year,” Adung said. “The bidding process is almost finished. It’s now in the last step.”
He added that the Navy had sent down scuba divers, and they say the HTMS Sukhothai is still in the same condition and its bow is still pointing towards the shrine of Prince of Chumphon, Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, in Chumphon province. The prince is considered the father of the Royal Thai Navy.