By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE NAVY HAS BEEN taken to task for reported failure to ensure sailors aboard a sinking corvette, namely HTMS 442 Sukhothai, survived a stormy sea in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday night.
During a fresh interpellation at parliament today (Dec.22), Move Forward MP Natcha Boonchai-insawat blamed the navy for six fatalities reported so far among the sailors, plus 23 others who have been reported missing after HTMS 442 Sukhothai had capsized due to strong winds and high tides and finally sunk off Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The Move Forward MP doubted that the navy corvette had had the number of life jackets and inflatable boats available for emergency use in proportion to that of its crewmembers and others, reportedly totaling 106.
Navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpat earlier admitted that the sunk ship did not have enough life jackets, given 15 marines and other sailors were passengers who had also been assigned for a non-combat mission alongside the crewmembers.
However, Natcha called on the authorities to find out who among the navy’s admirals may have given orders for the corvette to carry the mission under the stormy weather.
HTMS 442 Sukhothai, attached to Sattahip naval base, had sailed out from an eastern coast toward an upper southern shore across the Gulf of Thailand since Saturday.
As usual, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who concurrently acts as defence minister did not attend the weekly interpellating session whilst the opposition legislator called for any commanding navy officer to claim responsibility for having ordered the non-combat mission which led to the loss of those sailors, mostly believed to have drowned, and the “avoidable” mishap of the corvette, deployed since 1987.
“The prime minister-cum-defence minister who has been invested with overwhelming power since the last eight years could not have efficiently administered the agency in which he was virtually born and raised, let alone any ability on his part to continue to run the whole country for two more years,” Natcha said, referring to the Ministry of Defence and Prayut as an ex-army chief.
Top: Move Forward MP Natcha Boonchai-insawat criticising the navy at parliament today, Dec. 22, 2022. Photo: Amarin TV
Front Page: HTMS 442 Sukhothai that sank on Sunday night. Photo: Amarin TV