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Royal Thai Navy corvette sinks

The sunken Sukhothai is the sister ship of the HTMS Rattanakosin , which was commissioned in the US in 1986. This heavily armed class of corvette has a displacement of 975 tonne. (Janes)

A Royal Thai Navy (RTN) corvette has sunk after encountering rough seas, leaving several sailors missing.

The vessel sank on the night of 18 December after high winds and strong waves caused the vessel to tilt towards the water, the RTN said in a statement at about 0630 h (local time) on 19 December.

The navy initially reported that all 106 sailors aboard the HTMS Sukhothai had been recovered. However, Janes has learnt that around 31 sailors are missing at the time of publication.

According to RTN spokesperson, Vice Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin, the incident occurred at about 20 n miles from the Bang Saphan District Pier. Local media reported that a storm had been expected in the Gulf of Thailand. Meteorologists had predicted high waves and heavy rain on 18 and 19 December.

According to Vice Adm Monthatphalin, the Sukhothai had been patrolling the area when it encountered strong waves, which tilted the hull. โ€œThis caused some seawater to flow into the ship's electrical system through an exhaust pipe,โ€ Vice Adm Monthatphalin said.

He added that the ship lost all power at that point.

As an Rattanakosin-class corvette, the 76.8m-long Sukhothai had a top speed of 26 kt and a standard range of 3,000 n miles, according to Janes Fighting Ships . Armed with eight McDonnell Douglas RGM-84A/C Harpoon Block IA/IB anti-shipping missiles, a variety of cannons and surface-to-air missiles, and six torpedoes, the vessel had a displacement weight of 975 tonne.

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