The owner of the Phoenix has failed to recover the company’s boat, which sank on July 6 killing 47 Chinese tourists.
The boat company will now be sued for salvage expenses estimated to be around Bt10 million.
The director-general of the Marine Department, Jirut Wisanjit, flew down to Phuket on Monday from Bangkok to follow up the recovery arrangements for the Phoenix.
The official investigation into alleged official negligence is continuing.
Jirut said: “The owner signed an acknowledgement of the order to salvage the vessel on July 11. They had 20 days after July 11 to salvage the boat. A representative of the boat owner claims they cannot salvage the boat. They say the water is too deep for them to attempt a salvage, and that the wreckage no longer presents a danger to navigation in the area as it lies at 45 metres below the surface.
“However, we say the boat must be salvaged to find the cause of sinking and remove any potential threats to the nearby coral.”
“We have planned to salvage the boat since August 2. Equipment has been readied to salvage the boat. After it’s recovered the boat will be kept at Rattanachai shipyard in Rassada as important evidence for the case against the owners of the vessel,” the director-general said.
“The boat company will have to pay for all salvage expenses, which is not less than Bt10 million,” he added.