The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is going to need about 100 million baht to raise the sunken HTMS Sukhothai from the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand and 12 suitably equipped companies have offered to undertake the work.
A well-informed naval source said that Admiral Adung Phan-iam, the commander of the RTN fleet, had instructed the committee selecting the qualified company to speed up the selection process.
The source said that one of the conditions set by the RTN for the salvage operation is that the ship must be recovered in its present shape without being cut into sections.
HTMS Sukhothai, with 105 crew on board, foundered in rough seas off the coast of Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan on the night of December 18th. 76 were rescued, 24 were later found dead and five remain missing. The search for them continues.
RTN search teams scoured 33 locations in the Gulf yesterday (Wednesday), including Ko Khai in Pathio district of Chumphon Province, but found no trace of the missing crew.
The father of one of those still missing told the search teams that he hopes the remains of his son, Petty Officer Third Class Sophon Wongsanit, will be recovered.
The RTN and Prachuap Port Company held a religious ceremony at the port yesterday, to bless the souls of the lost crew.