Navy search fails to turn up bodies of missing seamen

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Four crewmembers of a containership that sank near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River were presumed lost after a three-day navy search failed to recover their bodies.

Capt. Prasatporn Sathornsawat, directing the search effort based out of the Sattahip Naval Base, said a surface search led by Patrol Unit 1110 and reconnaissance by air were not able to locate the missing seamen. Additional patrol aircraft and Seahawk helicopters were being prepared to join the search with patrol units 992 and 18 on Sept. 23.

The Royal Thai Navy conducts an aerial search for missing crewmen from the Phataramarine 5, a containership that sank near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River.The Royal Thai Navy conducts an aerial search for missing crewmen from the Phataramarine 5, a containership that sank near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River.

The Phataramarine 5, a 1,000-gross-ton, 71-meter-long container vessel, went down in heavy seas Sept. 20 in the wake of tropical depression Vamco about seven nautical miles off shore between Samut Prakan and Chonburi.

The ship, carrying canned food and consumer products, left Samut Prakan for Malaysia when it sank, spilling large and small shipping containers into the sea. Three crewmembers were rescued, but four remained unaccounted for.

Prasatporn said if the Marine Department and Marine Police were willing to assist, the navy would also assign a group of professional divers experienced in deep penetration of wrecks to probe the inside of the sunken vessel.