One Dead, Four Missing in Ferry Sinking off Thai Resort Island

Raja 4 (file image courtesy Raja Ferry Port)

Published Aug 2, 2020 2:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

A ro/ro ferry capsized of Koh Samui Island in the Gulf of Thailand on Saturday night, leaving four missing and one dead. The deceased has been identified as the vessel's master.

At about 2045 hours, the ferry Raja 4 left the pier at Koh Samui, bound for the mainland port of Don Sak. She encountered high winds and rough surface conditions at about 2200 hours, and she capsized about two nm off the coast of the island.

The Koh Samui police force sent two patrol boats to conduct a search and rescue operation, and despite the foul weather, they located and saved seven crewmembers and two truck drivers.

Two additional crewmembers were found on Koh Taen Island at noon on Sunday. One of the survivors told Bangkok Post that he had stayed afloat on debris and drifted the two nm distance from the site of the sinking to shore. 

Later Sunday afternoon, SAR teams located the body of the vessel's master, Capt. Tewin Surat, on nearby Koh Mod Daeng Island. 

Four people - two crewmembers, one truck driver and one supernumerary - were still missing Sunday afternoon, according to local media. Chinese state-owned outlet Xinhua reported that an additional two bodies had been located by divers Sunday. 

Koh Samui is a popular tourist destination off the coast of Surat Thani, Thailand, and competes directly with Phuket, its well-known counterpart on the Bay of Bengal side of the peninsula.