11 July 2024

Thailand’s opposition parties are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha from his position as Defence Minister, to demonstrate responsibility over the sinking of HTMS Sukhothai in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday night.

The opposition also plans to submit an interpellation to the House on Thursday, seeking a clarification from General Prayut over the tragic incident, in which six crew members of the sunken ship have been found dead and 23 are still missing.

The Royal Thai Navy dismissed a report today (Wednesday) that another crew member had been rescued, insisting that 23 are still missing.

Pheu Thai Party and opposition leader Chonlanan Srikaew expressed his condolences to the families of those who were lost and his regret to the Thai armed forces over the loss of the ship.

He said that such a tragedy would not have happened in the first place if the right decisions had been made when the ship started to take on water before it sank.

As the defence minister, Chonlanan said that General Prayut must be held responsible and must answer questions from opposition MPs in parliament.

“We cannot let go of this issue because it is our duty to check the use of taxpayer’s money and it is also an important matter. If three out of six generators malfunctioned, it is a big issue. More than 100 were on board the ship, but there were insufficient lift vests.” The opposition leader is demanding to know how this could happen.

He asked “If the Thai armed forces want three submarines and more weaponry, when they cannot win a battle against themselves, how can they fight with anyone?