Thai Navy brings tanker back to Phuket after crew spend 13 months at sea
PHUKET: An LPG tanker was brought to Phuket under escort by a Royal Thai Navy patrol vessel last night (March 8) after five crew members on board called for help. One of the five crew members said he had not been ashore for 13 months.
Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center Area 3 (THAI-MECC 3), a major operations unit of the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Area Command based in Cape Panwa, reported that it had received a request for assistance from the vessel, Schumi 7, at 5:30 p.m. on Monday (March 7).
The crew member who made contact was Noppadol Boonmee, who said he and other crew members wanted to be brought ashore.
Mr Noppadol said he had signed a nine-month contract to work on the ship, but it had been 13 months since the ship had called at Phuket. The claim was verified by Phuket Port officials from the Department of Marine.
The Schumi 7, a Thai-registered LPG tanker weighing 4,961 gross tons, was about seven nautical miles off Thap Lamu in Phang Nga when Mr Noppadol contacted the navy. The ship was on its way to deliver LPG to Bangladesh.
The Third Zone Command, which has a naval base in Thap Lamu, dispatched HMTS Laem Sing and the patrol boat Tor 229 with labor officials on board. The navy intercepted the Schumi 7 around 8 p.m.
There were 18 crew members on the tanker, under the command of Captain Suthichai Duangdara. Five of them, including Mr. Boonmee, have confirmed that they want to leave the ship.
The tanker was then driven back to Ao Makham on the east coast of Phuket.
All crew members were tested for COVID-19 by ATK before being allowed to disembark the ship. All have tested negative.
As of last report, officials were reviewing employment contracts and investigating terms and conditions of employment on the ship to determine whether any legal action should be taken.