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Rescuers scouring Chumphon islands for missing HTMS Sukhothai sailors

This handout photo taken on December 19, 2022 and released on December 20 by the Royal Thai Navy shows a life raft found floating on the ocean as military rescue teams searched for survivors after the HTMS Sukhothai warship sank in the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast of Bang Saphan district in Prachuab Kiri Khan province. - Rescuers in helicopters scoured the Gulf of Thailand on December 20 for dozens of sailors who went missing when their naval vessel sank, hoping life jackets had helped them survive two nights in the choppy waters. (Photo by Handout / ROYAL THAI NAVY / AFP) / -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / ROYAL THAI NAVY " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -

The search for 23 HTMS Sukhothai sailors missing in the Gulf of Thailand resumed on Friday as the Royal Thai Navy issued an update on their mission to probe the ship on the seabed.

The search mission for the sailors launched for a fifth day on Friday in the seas off Chumphon and Surat Thani provinces. The Navy also released the names of the missing personnel.

Rescuers are now checking islands and outcrops off Chumphon for any signs of the 23 sailors, who went missing when the Sukhothai sank in heavy seas about 20 nautical miles off Prachuap Khiri Khan on Sunday night. The vessel was knocked over and suffered an engine malfunction as it took on water.

The Navy said it is coordinating search and rescue efforts with the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre and Prachuap Khiri Khan Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre.

Meanwhile, the First Naval Area Command redeployed its SeaFox underwater drone and divers to determine why the ship sank.

“We failed to get close to the warship yesterday due to strong tides,” said Vice Admiral Pichai Lorchusakul, commander of the First Naval Area Command.

The search and rescue mission kicked off on Monday, with the Navy dispatching six ships, two Dornier amphibious aircraft, two rescue helicopters, and an unmanned aerial vehicle to scour the area around the spot where the warship went down. The Royal Thai Air Force also joined the search efforts, deploying a plane and a helicopter.

The Navy named the missing sailors as:

  • Acting Lieutenant Commander Phonrat Sirodom
  • Petty Officer First Class Prai Ruamyat
  • Chief Petty Officer First Class Jirawat Charoensin
  • Petty Officer First Class Boonlert Thongthip
  • Petty Officer First Class Chuchai Cherdchid
  • Petty Officer Second Class Thawatchai Saphirat
  • Petty Officer Second Class Saharat Esa
  • Petty Officer Third Class Noppanat Khamwong
  • Petty Officer Third Class Sathaphon Somnuea
  • Petty Officer Third Class Sarawut Nadi
  • Petty Officer Third Class Supakij Thiwalai
  • Petty Officer Third Class Sophon Wongsanit
  • Petty Officer Third Class Sirithiti Ngamthong
  • Seaman Worapong Boonlakhon
  • Seaman Abdul Asheed Mae
  • Seaman Suthipong Hongthong
  • Seaman Chamlong Saengkae
  • Seaman Taweesak Saecheaw
  • Seaman Jirawat Thuphom
  • Seaman Preecha Raksaphakdi
  • Seaman Chalat Oithong
  • Seaman Chaichana Changwat
  • Chief Petty Officer First Class Kunakorn Jariyot
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