The Phoenix still lies on the sea floor at a depth of 45 metres some 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei (Coral Island) after it which capsized and sank on July 5 with 89 tourists on board – with 47 Chinese tourists dying in the disaster.
Strong wind and waves over the past month have restricted divers to working only one to two hours a day – if at all, Mr Wiwat explained.
“Today (Aug 30), the dive team went out with a speedboat to reinforce the supports tied the hull. They also tied a six-inch tether to a 200-litre tank, which is attached to a large balloon. This was all attached to the far side of the hull, which will support the boat and keep it stable.
“The underwater work has been difficult. There are obstacles preventing the team from doing their work all the time. Some days we spend only one to two hours on it because of uncontrollable factors, such as the wind,” he said.
Mr Wiwat said that with the work still yet to be done in order to safely raise the Phoenix, he did not expect any attempt to raise the boat before Sept 6-7.
“We must also be very careful not to cause any damage to the boat as it has yet to be inspected by investigators,” Mr Wiwat told The Phuket News this morning.
“After the boat has been raised, it will be taken to to Klong Tha Jeen (on the east side of Phuket Town), where it will be held for inspection,” Mr Wiwat added,