Five sailors to be declared missing

Five sailors to be declared missing

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) will submit a court request to officially declare the five remaining sailors from HTMS Sukhothai, who are still unaccounted for, as missing persons.

Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin, RTN's spokesman, said yesterday the RTN and family members of the five would work on the legal process.

Once they are declared missing persons, the navy will proceed with providing financial aid, he said.

HTMS Sukhothai sank in rough seas -- 50 metres deep -- about 19 nautical miles off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan's Bang Saphan district on the night of Dec 18.

There were 105 crew on board, of whom 76 were rescued, 24 others found dead, and five remain missing.

Referring to the probe into the tragedy, he said the RTN committee had finished questioning 289 people connected to that night's events and would finalise the investigation report into what caused the ship to sink after it is salvaged. This is due around April when tidal currents are calmer.

Adm Pokkrong said the RTN will not falsify the report to cover any mistakes by naval officers.

He added a dozen or so companies are interested in the salvage mission and a budget will be finalised before parliament is dissolved in March.

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