23 Sailors Missing from Sunken Ship


The HTMS Sukhothai sank on Sunday night with 105 crew on board. | Image by Royal Thai Navy/Twitter

A storm-ravaged Thai navy warship with over 100 crewmembers sunk in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday.

On Monday, reports indicated that 106 crew had been cast into the sea, and military authorities had rescued 75 sailors, but 31 remained missing.

However, the total number was revised to 105 on Tuesday and officials reported that six crew members were found dead and 23 missing.

The HTMS Sukhothai, a 76-meter-long corvette, had its electrical system knocked out by seawater on Sunday evening due to heavy winds. The vessel was on patrol about 20 miles from the pier at Bang Saphan District in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.

After the outage, the Royal Thai Navy attempted to remove the seawater but failed as the winds were too strong.

The loss of electricity only exacerbated the problem of water getting in, and eventually, the ship sank. The process of sinking started around 11:30 p.m. local time.

It is still somewhat of a mystery how the ship sunk on a routine patrol. Australian naval law expert David Letts calls it very unusual, and the Thai Navy reported that this was the first time they had lost a ship under such circumstances.

The last sailor authorities found was alive, so they have reason to believe there are others among the remaining 23 who could have survived. The initial thought was that survivors could live only 48 hours in the sea, but searchers have renewed hope.

Some survivors were found wearing life vests, but not all of them. Officials found that one survivor had hung onto a buoy for 10 hours; others were in a life raft. If any survivors are left, they have now been at sea for over 48 hours.

Authorities have been searching the 30-square-mile radius of the ship with helicopters, navy ships, and drones.

Because Southern Thailand has recently experienced storms and flooding, ships were told to stay ashore.

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William McBreen
William McBreen
1 month ago

A sad loss for those sailors and their families. God be with them.

Lay Monk Jeffery
Lay Monk Jeffery
1 month ago

Prayers for them and there loved ones.