NewsNational NewsJoint Thai-US Navy Operation Searches Sunken Vessel; Salvage Effort Commences

Joint Thai-US Navy Operation Searches Sunken Vessel; Salvage Effort Commences

In a collaborative effort between the Thai and US navies, a joint operation was initiated today to locate the remains of five missing crew members from the sunken HTMS Sukhothai corvette. The mission also aims to salvage weaponry and deactivate certain US-manufactured military equipment. Spearheading the operation is the US navy’s “Ocean Valor” ship, hailing from the naval base in Hawaii, accompanied by a flotilla of Royal Thai Navy (RTN) vessels including the Rattanakosin, two mine sweepers, two frigates, and one mid-sized troop carrier. A team comprising 17 American and 40 Thai divers is actively involved in the undertaking.

This joint endeavor is part of the broader Cobra Gold military exercise, which sees participation from military personnel from Thailand, the US, and several allies. Notably, Thai and foreign journalists are set to witness the operation firsthand from aboard an RTN vessel, having departed from the port in Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan early this morning. Among those present is RTN Commander-in-Chief Admiral Adoong Pan-iam, who will be available to address inquiries from the media.

The primary objective for divers today is to capture imagery of the sunken Sukhothai vessel, now resting on the seabed approximately 50 meters below the surface and situated roughly 20 nautical miles off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan. The tragic sinking of the Sukhothai corvette occurred in the Gulf during the night of December 18, 2022, resulting in the loss of 22 naval officers and men, with five individuals still unaccounted for despite extensive search efforts.

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