Bangkok, Jan 6 (EFE).- Thailand’s navy said that it will call for bids to refloat the warship that sank last month in the Gulf of Thailand even as the search for five missing crew members continues, public broadcaster Thai PBS reported Friday.
Admiral Adung Phan-iam said Thursday that the bidding process was likely to be held in one or two weeks without specifying when the work was expected to start, according to the broadcaster.
Private companies specialized in refloating sunken ships will be called to present their offers.
The HTMS Sukhothai corvette is lying at a depth of 50 meters after sinking some 37 kilometers (23 miles) off the coast of the Thai province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, southwest of Bangkok, on Dec. 18 with 105 crew members on board.
The navy’s divers are assessing the damage to the vessel and have taken images in order to study possible plans to recover the ship, Admiral Adung Phan-iam added.
A total of 76 people aboard the ship were rescued alive and 24 bodies recovered.
The search operation for the remaining five crew members continues as rescue teams scrutinize every coast and sea cave in the region without any success so far.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the ship did not have enough life jackets for everyone on the ship.
The seaworthiness of the ship has also been called into question as a review of hull maintenance was supposedly pending. EFE