Last week it was reported that the sunken Phoenix would be raised to the surface last weekend but the crane did not arrive until on Tuesday.
The barge and crane are off Koh Hei and the authorities are confident the operation will go ahead. Acting Immigration Bureau chief Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn said Phoenix will be raised within five days.
Deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police, Gen Rungroj Sangkram, and Surachate travelled from Bangkok, joining more than 60 Thai and Chinese journalists, and inspected the operation.
Rungroj said: “We are trying to push for the salvage operation as the boat is important evidence as we take legal action.”
Phuket’s Governor Pakkapong Tawipat said that the barge, which came from Singapore with a 1,200-tonne crane this week, was yesterday to recovery the Phoenix.
Surachate said: “This crane can definitely bring the boat to the surface. We can confirm that the boat will be raised in the next five days. ”
The Phuket authorities said Seaquest Marine Ltd from Singapore has been preparing for the salvage operation since November 7 with more than 100 staff.