The Royal Thai Navy stopped a derelict vessel in the Gulf of Thailand on Thursday and attempted to tow it away from an oil platform.

The crew of an offshore rig informed the Royal Thai Navy command for the Southern Gulf of Thailand at 1600 hours on January 6 that a cargo ship with a significant list was drifting nearby. The vessel was around 90 nautical miles east-southeast of Koh Samui, roughly in the Rossukon oil field area.

Royal Thai Navy
Credit: Royal Thai Navy

The head of the 2nd Naval Area Command, Vice Adm. Soonthorn Khamkhai, despatched a patrol boat to the location to help.

A boarding squad from the patrol boat was dispatched to the freighter to investigate. The vessel’s gunwale on the starboard side had been severely damaged, and many of the hatch cover pontoons were missing, according to video shot by the team. As the ship rolled, several feet of water rushed out of the empty hold, slamming across the full width of the beam from port to starboard.

Royal Thai Navy
Credit: Royal Thai Navy

The vessel had been left in a state of disarray, with possessions scattered about in the berthing quarters and on the bridge, according to an inspection of the interior. Flooding was detected in the engine room, belowdecks, and mechanical compartment.

Except for a single battery-powered lamp, the team discovered that none of the bridge equipment was functional.

In the early hours of January 7, salvage operations began. The team began pumping water out of the vessel’s machinery areas and succeeded in lowering the water level by around one foot before the operation was called off due to increasing weather conditions.

Pumping was resumed for several hours once conditions improved in the afternoon. The evolution was successful in removing enough water to show the majority of the contents of the engine room.

According to The Bangkok Post, the salvage attempt was eventually unsuccessful. The warship sank during a towing attempt on Saturday night, according to Rear Adm. Surasak Pratanworapanya, burying any more clues to its origins.


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