THE Thai Second Naval Area said today (Jan. 9) that the mystery stateless cargo ship found listing near Koh Samui sank overnight and a big effort is being made to prevent the oil spill from reaching tourist island in two to three days’ time, Sanook.com said.
Vice Admiral Sunthorn Damklai, commander of the Second Naval Area, had sent an unmanned aircraft and a T.113 patrol boat to inspect the abandoned ship which was found to be an old merchant ship, approximately 80 metres in length, with no cargo and not a single person on board.
The hull had some Chinese language text on it but there was no ship number and the stern’s number had been deleted. There was also no accomodation for seafarers nor were there an anchor and chain.
The T.113 patrol boat crew found that there were leaks around the ship and the hull was listing. They installed a water pump to drain out the water from the vessel and were working on towing it ashore when it sank.
Rear Admiral Surasak Prathanworapanya said the ship sank at around 28 nautical miles from the shore of Sichon district, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, because of its numerous leaks.
Although the naval officers tried to pump water out of the ship and bring it ashore, rough seas made it a difficult task. HTMS Tapi frigate tried to bring it ashore but strong waves halted the operation as this ship too could have been hit and damaged.
The mystery cargo ship started spewing out diluted oil mixed lubricant from the hull after it sank.
The Second Naval Area is accelerating clean-up operations by sending in its own ships and asking the Nakhon Si Thammarat port authorities to send private ships to help out.
Second Naval Area officers also asked the oil drilling company Chevron Offshore (Thailand) Ltd that alerted them about this old cargo ship to put buoys around the oil spill as clean-up operation gets underway.
This is an urgent effort as the oil spill would flow with the current and reach Koh Mudsum and Koh Samui in two to three days’ time, with these two islands being southwest of the point where the ship sank.
Although the oil that is spilling is diluted it is essential to prevent tourist attractions such as Koh Samui from being affected.
Top and Home Page: The mystery cargo ship with not a single person aboard is listing near Koh Samui. Photos: Sanook.com