The salvage team from Spitz Tech Co Ltd, which has been contracted by the government to recover the Phoenix, attempted a major operation to move the boat starting at 11am today, Wiwat Chitchertwong, Acting Director of the Phuket Marine Office, told The Phuket News.
The attempt today aimed to moved the boat halfway to where it will be refloated in waters only 25 metres deep.
However, the team encountered problems with the ballast balloons used to lift the boat off the seabed, Mr Wiwat explained to The Phuket News late this afternoon.
“The boat was moved only 40 metres today,” he said.
“The team will make adjustments to the floats and continue the project to move the boat (while the wreck is still completely submerged) tomorrow,” he added.
“We expect to have the boat in position to float it to the surface in one to two more days,” Mr Wiwat said.
“Once the boat is in position, in waters only 25m deep, the team will attempt to float it to the surface,”
Mr Wiwat noted that hopes are still high to have the Phoenix floated by this weekend.
“We expect that the Phoenix will be on land in the next two to three days,” he said.
Once the Phoenix has been recovered, it will be taken to the Rattanachai shipyard in Rassada so that investigators can inspect the wreck.
The Phoenix sank 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei in storm conditions on July 5 in a disaster that killed 47 Chinese tourists.