A FORMER NAVY officer said today (Dec. 21) that a fellow sailor who survived the sinking of HTMS 442 Sukhothai told him that the front left hull of the warship was cracked and that is why seawater gushed in, Sanook.com said.
Col. Udom Chaichana, 60, who was among the crew who travelled to receive the warship in the US and sailed it back to Thailand in 1987 related that he was only 25 years old during that trip.
It took a month to bring the warship to Thailand from Seattle with his duty being communications officer.
After that he was stationed aboard this warship for several periods that lasted over four years. This led to a deep love and bonding with the vessel. As he knew every corner of it so well in his spare time he built a model with matchsticks.
Col. Udom said that HTMS 442 Sukhothai had been built to withstand waves and wind well. It is a closed construction ship that has six doors that are all closed when it leaves port for battle. Moreover it does not have a keel with blocks being connected together and each block having a wall and a door. When encountering strong winds, it leans back and forth but does not sink like a tumbled doll.
As a result, the question arises as to how seawater got into the warship. As it was built with blocks connected to each other this makes it almost impossible for seawater to flow in from the bow to the stern because each block would stop it.
Col. Udom added that he talked to a fellow sailor who survived the sinking of the warship on Line app this morning and he revealed that there were cracks on the front left side of the hull that allowed the seawater to flow into the vessel or even widened the cracks.
He believes this is what caused the warship to sink because there is no other way for seawater to enter the vessel without a puncture or a crack as it was a closed ship.
Regarding life vests, Col. Udom said all crewmembers have one assigned to them but sailors from other areas don’t know if any is available for them. They are always spare life vests at the Quartermaster Department.
Col. Udom Chaichana when he went to receive HTMS 442 Sukhothai with other crewmembers in the US and the model of the warship he built with matchsticks. Photos: Sanook.com
Mr. Rex Preston Stoner commented on Twitter that when Col. Udom refers to “blocks” what in fact he is referring to are “bulkheads” which are a common feature in shipbuilding both civilian and military.
Thai Newsroom’s team thanks Mr. Preston for this clarification.