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Royal Thai Navy’s Corvette HTMS Sukhothai Sinks in Rough Seas

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Royal Thai Navy's Corvette HTMS Sukhothai Sinks in Rough Seas

The Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Sukhothai, a Rattanakosin class corvette, went down in the Gulf of Thailand late Sunday night during a storm, with 31 of her crew missing, navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatpalin.

HTMS Sukhothai was patrolling about 20 nautical miles offshore from Bang Saphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province a 173 nautical miles from Sattahip Naval Base, according to Adm Pokkrong.

During the storm, she was battered by high waves and listed about 60 degrees to starboard as seawater poured into the ship.

The power went out at HTMS Sukhothai when the main engine failed, and the ship began to sway out of control as more water entered the ship, which continued to list to starboard.

The navy launched an immediate rescue, sending HTMS Angthong, HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej, HTMS Kraburi, and two rescue helicopters to the scene. The first ship to arrive was the HTMS Kraburi, which began rescuing crew members from the sinking ship and the sea.

Around 11.30 p.m., the HTMS Sukhothai sank, her entire crew was safe aboard HTMS Kraburi.

The Royal Thai Navy issued the most recent report on the rescue operation at 7 a.m. on Monday. The HTMS Sukhothai’s 106 crew members were brought to the port of Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Three of them suffered serious injuries.

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Tacoma Boat building Company built the HTMS Sukhothai in Tacoma, Washington, USA, and it was commissioned on February 19, 1987. The corvette had been in naval service for nearly 36 years.

She was also outfitted for air defense, sea combat, and anti-submarine warfare.

Navy Still Unsure About Sub Engine from China

In other Navy News, Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin said Tuesday that the Royal Thai Navy had not decided whether to use a Chinese-made engine instead of a German-made one for an S26T Yuan-class submarine being built in China.

Adm Pokkrong was speaking following talks from Tuesday to Thursday between Adm Chonlathit Nawanukhro, the navy’s chief-of-staff in his capacity as chairman of the navy’s committee managing the submarine procurement project, and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) and China’s naval attaché.

During the meeting, CSOC presented information to RTN about the capacity and performance of the Chinese-made CHD620 engine, while RTN informed the former that it is still deciding on the matter, according to Adm Pokkrong.

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The RTN has not agreed or rejected this offer at this time because it still needs to send a team to China to observe a test of the submarine’s engine between January and April of next year, he said.

During the meeting, the RTN imposed a new condition on accepting CSOC’s offer to replace the German-made engine with a Chinese-made one, he said, adding that the condition is that the Chinese-made engine must meet Chinese navy standards.

He expects the process of certifying the CHD620 engine to meet Chinese navy standards to be completed by June of next year.

After all of these processes are completed, the RTN will compile the information for a report that will be submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for consideration before making any further decisions on the submarine engine, he said.

“The RTN insists on spending the state budget allotted to it efficiently and in the best interests of the country,” he said.

“The submarine procurement project may face a number of challenges, but the RTN will do everything possible to overcome them.”

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