Navy clears up claims on ship repairs

Navy clears up claims on ship repairs

HTMS Sukhothai (file photo).
HTMS Sukhothai (file photo).

The navy on Thursday disputed claims on social media that substandard materials had been used in the repair and maintenance of HTMS Sukhothai, which sunk in the Gulf of Thailand on Dec 18.

Citing documents, netizens said the thickness of metal panels in the submerged section of the ship was not up to standard requirements and put the ship at risk.

Navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatpalin addressed the online claims saying much of it was based on incomplete and dated information.

Adm Pokkrong said the navy has checked with the Naval Dockyard Department to help clarify the matter.

Citing the department, Adm Pokkrong said the information about the thickness came from an inspection report made during July 23–24, 2018, when HTMS Sukhothai was at Mahidol Navy Dockyard during July 12-Sept 3, 2018, for a refit.

The inspection, which was made to assess the condition of the metal panels of the hull, found 13 spots where the metal panels corroded.

These sheets were replaced with high-tensile strength steel as part of the repair and maintenance, Adm Pokkrong said.

According to Adm Pokkrong, after being serviced, HTMS Sukhothai was tested for seaworthiness and then delivered to the Royal Thai Feet on Jan 2021 to be put back into service.

The navy has come under scrutiny after HMTS Sukhothai, with 105 service members on board, sank in rough seas off Prachuap Khiri Khan's Bang Saphan district.

Of the 105 people, 76 were rescued, 24 others were found dead, and five remain missing as of Thursday.

Underwater, surface and land search teams completed their search on 33 islets in Chumphon and moved their search efforts for those still missing to around islets and islands in Surat Thani.

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