HTMS Chonburi’s commander removed after shelling incident


The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has transferred the commander of HTMS Chonburi, Lieutenant Commander Theeranai Laosing, to an inactive position at the Royal Thai Fleet Command after the ship accidentally fired a shell at HTMS Khirirat on March 14.

Both frigates were docked at the Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi province at the time. The accident caused the rear part of HTMS Khirirat to catch fire, which took 30 minutes to extinguish.

Fourteen crew members of HTMS Khirirat were injured in the incident, 5 of them seriously, mainly due to smoke inhalation, the RTN said during the press event on Tuesday to announce the results of the investigation.

All injured personnel are being treated at Sirikit Hospital and are now in stable condition, Admiral Chatchai Thongsaard, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Fleet, said. He added that the navy has provided compensation to the victims as well as owners of properties damaged in the incident.

HTMS Chonburi’s commander removed after shelling incident

Chatchai said HTMS Chonburi had returned to the base for repairs following a firing drill on March 13, during which one of its guns malfunctioned.

He said the ship had abandoned its mission as it was about to fire the 37th shot from the 76/62 mm. cannon. Five shells had already been loaded in the chamber but when the crew was unable to remove more than two shells, they decided to bring the ship back to base to remove the rest.

Chatchai added that while Naval Ordnance officials were trying to remove the shells, a malfunction occurred in the safety system of the cannon, which is over 40 years old, causing the gun to fire and hit HTMS Khirirat, which was docked in front of the ship.

HTMS Khirirat is a patrol frigate that has been in operation for 50 years.

It was built by Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Corporation in the United States. The frigate is equipped to fight air, surface and underwater enemies.