The Phoenix now lies on the sea floor at a depth of 45 metres some 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei (Coral Island).
Wiwat Chitchertwong, who is currently the Acting Director of the Phuket Marine Office, told The Phuket News today (Aug 16), “All the equipment and tethers have been attached, but some of them still need to be positioned in the place so the boat can be safely raised to the surface.”
“Strong wind and waves have made it too dangerous for divers to do this so far. As soon as the wind and waves calm down, we will be able to finish the project and raise the boat,” he said.
However, he added, “We hope to have the boat back on land as soon as we can, and right now I cannot give you an exact date, but we will make sure that it is safely done.”
The Marine Department began its own preparations to refloat the Phoenix on Aug 2 after the owner failed to recover the boat within the time frame given.
A salvage operator has been hired to recover the Phoenix at a cost of approximately B10 million.
That cost will be passed on to the boat’s operating company to pay, confirmed Marine Department Director-General Jirut Wisanjit during his visit to Phuket to inspect the progress made on recovering the boat on Monday (Aug 13). (See story here.)