23 May 2024

The Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) Ratanakosin-class corvette, HMS Sukhothai, sank in rough seas in the Gulf of Thailand at about 11.30pm on Sunday night.

The RTN reported this morning (Monday) that 77 of the 110 officers and men on board have been rescued, with the remaining 33 still floating in the sea. Three were seriously injured. The ship sank after it took on a lot of seawater.

According to RTN Spokesman Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin, HMS Sukhothai was on routine sea patrol, about 20 miles from the Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan, when it began to list to starboard, allowing seawater to get into the electrical system through the exhaust pipe. This led to a loss of electrical power and the stopping of the main engine.

The ship lost steerage, resulting in more water entering the hull, increasing the list.

The RTN ordered three other naval vessels and two helicopters to rescue the crew and officers. HMS Kraburi was the first to arrive at the scene and began rescuing those in the sea.

The search for crew members who are still missing continues today, as the Royal Thai Navy sends additional vessels and planes to take part in the search and rescue operations, which are being hampered by rough seas and strong winds.

The RTN confirmed that there were enough life vests on board the ill-fated HMS Sukhothai for the whole crew, adding that the 33 sailors who are yet to be rescued are believed to have drifted in various directions, but the rough sea has made it impossible for small boats to reach them.

According to the Army Times Thailand, 43 were crew injured, most of them suffering minor injuries and four who suffered broken legs.