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The warship Saiburi at Phuket's deep sea port today

UPDATE Thailand Commits Fleet of Seven Warships, Four Helicopters to Search and Rescue

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
PHUKET: Thailand's commitment of seven warships and four helicopters to search and rescue operations for South East Asia's boatpeople began at Phuket's deep sea port today.

The frigate HTMS Saiburi will help patrol 600 kilometres of coastline, centring on Phuket, the Commander of the Royal Thai Navy 3, Vice Admiral Saiyan Prasongsomret, said today.

The largest of the vessels, the 4.9-billion-baht HTMS Ang Thong, will serve as a ''floating base with medics and police'' on board once it returns from Singapore, the vice admiral said.

Four helicopters will also be involved if needed for ill boatpeople. The frigate and the Ang Thong both had landing space for helicopters.

US help was not required because the Royal Thai Navy was capable of mounting the operation, he said.

The Navy had found no signs of up to 3500 people reported to still be on the Andaman Sea.

Boatloads of Rohingya and Bangladeshis have been brought to shore in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia this month.

But the vice admiral said that before the Navy encountered a vessel carrying about 450 passengers off Satun province earlier this month, there had previously only been recent encounters with one vessel containing 250 people in December and another loaded with 150 passengers in February.

Both vessels were ''helped on'' to their preferred destination and any other vessels encountered in the search zone, extending 12 miles out to sea in Thai waters and another 12 miles into international waters, will also be ''helped on.''

Another 106 boatpeople were dumped by traffickers on Surin island a short time back and brought to the Thai mainland.

The discovery of graves around secret jungle camps in Phang Nga, north of Phuket, and along the border with Malaysia has been followed this week by the revelation of more camps and 139 graves near camps on the Malaysian side of the border.

Officials from 17 countries are due to meet in Bangkok on Friday to try to formulate a regional policy towards the issue of unwanted migration by sea by people from Bangladesh and Rohingya from Rakhine state in Burma (Myanmar.)

Comments

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A very good use of the resources of the Royal Thai Navy.

Posted by Ian Yarwood on May 26, 2015 12:26

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So here they go with this face-saving overkill...more intended to show the big bad US that Thailand doesn't need their help. Thailand seems to shun international help in all aspects of their affairs, choosing instead to muddle through with poorly planned and short-sighted actions that achieve nothing.

Posted by Richard Vickers on May 26, 2015 17:34

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As the issue affects the whole region, The most sensible thing for Thailand to do would be a combined operation involving other interested/concerned nations rather than embarking on its own!!

Posted by Deepak on May 26, 2015 20:37

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5555. Suspect millions a day to operate warships...why not use the mothballed aircraft carrier as a floating 'base'?
Is there no sophisticated Thai military radar?
Are there no satellites?
Bah humbug!

Posted by david on May 27, 2015 11:34

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I hope the "eyes of the world", so all satellites flying over this part of Asia keep a close watch on what is going on here. Thailand, Birma, Malaysia have to proof and earn their credibility first. They have denied any wrong doing or involvement for such a long time that their trustworthy is completely ruined. Thailand don't offer softening words only now. Proof your change of mentality first with acting with human dignity, honesty, fairness and honor.

Posted by phuketgreed on May 27, 2015 12:44


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