Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Thais spot four more bodies

Local fishermen have said they saw four bodies in life jackets off Koh Rok, off the coast of Krabi, south of Phuket, the Phuket Gazette says, but whether those were of the missing Bangladesh ship crew was not clear.

The Bangladeshi cargo ship MV Hope, which titled to one side in heavy seas south of Phuket last Thursday night, is expected to arrive at Langkawi, Malaysia, on Tuesday after being towed from its position south of Racha Noi Island overnight.

“After we called off our search mission (on Monday), we received a report from a fishing boat that four bodies were spotted near Koh Rok (Monday afternoon),” the Gazette quoted Captain Thammawat Malaisukkarin, Director of the Naval Civil Affairs of the Royal Thai Navy, as saying.

Chittagong ship owners’ P&I Club representative Mahiuddin Abdul Kader told they heard about the bodies being spotted. "We are not sure if they are the missing sailors of MV Hope.”

The Koh Rok Islands, a popular day-trip destination for tourist snorkellers and divers, are located about 100 kilometres southeast of Phuket.

Langkawi, Malaysia’s northernmost island along the Andaman Coast, lies a further 100km south of Koh Rok.

“The crew said the bodies they saw were wearing life jackets, but they did not recover them because they were afraid they would become involved in a crime that had been committed,” he explained.

The Royal Thai Navy alerted the local Marine Police and the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centers (Thai-MECC), which effectively operates as the naval coast guard unit, along the southern Andaman coast.

However, the Navy said it will not dispatc any ships or aircraft to recover the four bodies.

“We will not be dispatching a search and rescue team. If we did, by the time we reached the site, the wind and current could have moved the bodies far from where they were last seen,” Capt Thammawat said.

Nine of the 17 people on board the MV Hope were rescued during the four-day search for survivors.

The two bodies recovered during the search and rescue efforts on Friday have yet to be identified, staff at Vachira Phuket Hospital on Tuesday morning confirmed to the Gazette.

Capt Thammawat explained that the MV Confidence, commissioned by insurance company responsible for MV Hope to recover the stricken vessel, began towing MV Hope toward Langkawi at about 10:30pm on Monday.

“It should be there by now,” he said.

“The Royal Thai Navy will not be involved in any further efforts involving the MV Hope as it is now out of Thai waters,” the Gazatte quoted Capt Thammawat as further saying.

Wednesday 10 July 2013


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