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Thai Navy Corvette Loses Power and Sinks in Gulf of Thailand

Royal Thai Navy corvette listing about 70 degrees to port and sinking
Courtesy Royal Thai Navy

Published Dec 18, 2022 9:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

A Royal Thai Navy warship went down in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday after flooding disabled its electrical systems and its engines. 

The HTMS Sukhothai, a Ratanakosin-class missile corvette, was on patrol in heavy weather about 20 miles off Bang Saphan in the Gulf of Thailand. High waves caused water ingress, and the flooding disabled the ship's electrical power systems. The Sukhothai lost propulsion, and further flooding caused her to list heavily to starboard

Three other Royal Thai Navy vessels responded to the scene, along with two helicopters. Many of the crewmembers were safely evacuated but the ship herself could not be saved. She slipped below at about 2330 hours Sunday. 

The Sukhothai was built by Tacoma Boatbuilding Company in 1987 as one of a series of two corvettes for the Royal Thai Navy. The vessels were well-armed for their size with eight Harpoon antiship missiles, a 3-inch deck gun, twin deck-mounted torpedo launchers and a substantial number of Selenia Aspide antiaircraft missiles. 

Other vessels were affected by the same storm. The tanker Pattarapan ran aground on a beach at Laem Samila on Sunday, and though the vessel and crew are safe, the rough weather prevented an immediate salvage attempt, according to local media. The vessel's cargo tanks are empty, reducing the risk of pollution. 

In addition, the small container feeder Suntud Samut 4 had a cargo securing incident in rough waves and took on a list about two nautical miles off Phum Riang, according to local Matichon Online. The nine crewmembers abandoned ship and managed to make it to shore safely in an inflatable life raft.