The Royal Thai Navy is attempting to rescue the sunken battleship HTMS Sukhothai and identify the reason of its malfunction in December of last year.
Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Military, stated that the navy is now seeking competent contractors to recover the Sukhothai, a Ratanakosin-class corvette that sunk off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province on December 18th, 2022. However, he expressed worry that the recovery would be difficult owing to the vessel sinking to around 50 meters, making salvage difficult without risking more damage to the vessel.
Due to these difficulties, the naval leader predicted that salvage would cost more than 200 million baht.
The Sukhothai sunk in rough weather around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Bang Saphan () district, carrying 105 crew members. The bodies of 24 crew members were found, while five crew members remain missing.
The Navy head also stated that the committee investigating the cause of the catastrophe has finished interviews with 289 witnesses, including surviving crew members, ship mechanics, and volunteers who participated in the search and rescue effort. The navy is also evaluating witness testimony and will establish why the ship sunk after assessing the rescued craft.
An early investigation by the navy’s Quartermaster Department revealed that the Sukhothai had 130 life jackets on board before sinking, which should have been more than enough for its crew. However, the navy is investigating why several of the crew members identified, including survivors, were not wearing life jackets during the event.