Talks on Thailand’s submarine engine problem postponed until May

Talks between the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), China Shipbuilding and the Offshore International Company (CSOC) on a submarine engine problem, which were due to take place this month, have been postponed to May due to the COVID-19 situation in China, according to RTN Spokesman Vice Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin.

The engine problem, in Thailand’s first, but controversial, submarine procured from China, started when Germany refused to sell the MTU 396 diesel engine to China as part of the EU’s embargo on the country.

CSOC, the submarine builder, has offered an alternative Chinese-made engine, which they claim is of a similar standard, but the RTN has rejected the offer and insists on delivery of the German engine.

Vice Adm Pokkrong said that RTN Chief of Staff Adm Talerngsak Sirisawat who is also the chairman of the submarine project, will represent the RTN in the upcoming talks with CSOC, which are aimed at finding a solution to the problem.

He dismissed speculations that the talks would include the matter of used submarines.

The spokesman also said that the Navy Commander-in-Chief, Adm Somprasong Nilsamai, wants the case to be settled as quickly as possible.

The Yuan-class S26T submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the RTN in 2024.


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