FOUR CREW members of a Thai fishing boat drowned after it was hit and sunk by a Pakistani cargo ship yesterday morning, according to naval and harbour officers.
They alleged that the ship, which was registered in Hyderabad, Pakistan, did not stop to help the crew of the sinking boat but instead continued to its destination off Koh Sichang and was anchored there at 7am.
Rear Admiral Banchob Phodaeng, commander of the First Naval Area, dispatched a renaissance plane, a helicopter and a patrol ship to the scene of the accident off Sattahib coast in Chon Buri once he was informed of the accident.
The Thai fishing boat was identified as Choke Chuchai. Its precise location when it was hit was latitude 12.3.28 north and longtitude 101.12.10 east, about 38 nautical miles from the Sattahib coast.
The crew contained five Cambodians and three Thais.
Another fishing boat, Suwit Kan Pramong, which happened to be nearby, managed to save one of the Thais and three Cambodians but the other four vanished.
At 12:30pm, the 995 patrol boat of the Navy spotted the bodies of the missing crew and plucked them out of water. Two of them were Thais identified as Rod Supprasert, 58, Pranom Rungruang, 41, and two others Cambodians identified as Wang Soi, 24, and Ko, 39.
Pattaya Harbour officials and the Marine Traffic and Safety Monitoring Centre of the Navy later located the cargo ship that had hit the fishing boat.
Officials said the boat was shipping coal from Indonesia and left Rayong in the morning.
Officials inspected the ship and found a clear trace that it had hit something at its bow.
The Thai fishing boat owner had filed a complaint with Map Taphut police in Rayong.