By Thai Newsroom Reporters
METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT director-general Chompari Chompurat is being held accountable for inaccurate, unreliable weather forecasting which resulted in the loss of sailors and HTMS 442 Sukhothai in the stormy Gulf of Thailand last Sunday.
In a press conference today (Dec.25), deputy Pheu Thai leader Yutthapong Charatsatian put the terminal blame on the Meteorological Department chief who he said had evidently forecast erroneous, misleading weather conditions in the stormy sea where strong winds and high tides had prevailed and finally claimed the lives of some sailors and the capsizing and sinking of the navy corvette, deployed since 1987.
Though the Meteorological Department had predicted four-metre-high tides in the sea off Surat Thani, the affected locations mentioned by the agency were nearly 100 nautical miles away, according to the Maha Sarakham MP. The US-built navy corvette was hit by six-metre-high tides and finally sunk to the bottom of the sea off Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The agency has forecast weather conditions over the Gulf of Thailand and coastal areas for a period between December 17 and December 20 whilst the fatal mishap of HTMS 442 Sukhothai occurred on December 18.
However, the MP said the navy corvette would not have sailed out from its Sattahip base on an eastern shore toward an upper southern coast if given accurate, reliable warnings of the rough sea from the department.
The MP charged that Chompari would not know much about weather forecasting and had not deserved the post of director-general of the Meteorological Department in the first place. He held Digital Economy & Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn responsible for allegedly having pushed for the promotion of whom he called a former clerk to the post.
Of a total of 105 sailors and marine passengers aboard HTMS 442 Sukhothai, 13 have been reportedly killed whilst 16 others have not been accounted for as yet.
The fatalities and missing of the sailors have been primarily attributed to an inadequate number of life jackets aboard the sunk warship.
The navy’s search and rescue mission in which helicopters and divers have been taking part has continued for the seventh day today.
Top: HTMS 442 Sukhothai sinking in the Gulf of Thailand last Sunday with an image of Pheu Thai deputy leader Yutthapong Charatsatian inset. Credit: Sanook.com
Front Page: HTMS 442 Sukhothai and an inflatable ring in this composite image. Credit: Thai Rath