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Oil Smuggling Crackdown: Thai Police Recover Modified Ships in Songkhla Operation

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Police forensic science officers are meticulously collecting evidence aboard the ‘Kamraingoen,’ a vessel that has undergone a rather sly transformation with modifications and a fresh coat of paint. This ship is one of three oil-smuggling vessels that have been recovered and are currently anchored at the Port of Songkhla. The operation has caught the attention of NBT Narathiwat, amplifying its notoriety.

Authorities have vowed to bring the masterminds behind this oil-smuggling syndicate to justice. Pol Col Anek Taosupap, the Deputy Commander of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), announced on Tuesday that, alongside the investigation into the missing vessels, police have also apprehended more suspects and witnesses. These new developments add additional layers to an already intricate case.

Evidence surfacing from the investigation indicates a connection between the ships and at least four key suspects believed to be the brains behind the operation. Before moving forward with the arrests, police intend to compile all available evidence and seek arrest warrants from the court, as revealed by Pol Col Anek.

The saga took a dramatic turn on Sunday when the three confiscated fishing boats, refitted to illegally transport diesel, were found in international waters near Malaysia. Originally seized due to their cargo of 330,000 liters of smuggled oil, these ships had vanished from a pier in Chon Buri just the week before.

According to Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat Pankaew, the Deputy Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), these vessels had journeyed to Koh Kood, Cambodia, before making their way into international waters. They were intercepted on Monday morning and were finally docked at Marine Police Division 7 in Songkhla by 7:35 pm that evening. Despite their best efforts, the crew had only managed to partially repaint the Kamraingoen, while the Daorung’s engine was found in a malfunctioning state.

“The crew attempted to sell the contraband oil in Cambodia, but upon learning that the police were on their trail, they abandoned their efforts to disguise the boats and fled,” Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat stated. “When the vessels were recovered, the tanks were nearly empty.”

Initially, the seized fuel was estimated to be worth 4-5 million baht on the black market. Combined, the value of the three boats themselves could reach up to 30 million baht. Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat disclosed that three or four officers are being held accountable for the disappearance of the vessels from the marine police pier in Sattahip district, Chon Buri, on June 12.

These ships were among five initially seized in the Gulf of Thailand in March due to their involvement in oil smuggling. They had been anchored at the marine police’s pier since March 19, with all crew members released on bail in the meantime. The three vessels went missing with 15 crew members aboard, but only eight were found when police eventually intercepted them. Charged with nighttime burglary, none of these individuals claimed ownership of the vessels.

As it stands, seven crew members remain at large. Police are leaving no stone unturned in their mission to locate and arrest these elusive individuals, Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat assured.


  1. Joe June 18, 2024

    Great job by the Thai police! Smuggling like this needs to be stopped at all costs.

    • RoxieD June 18, 2024

      Sure, but isn’t it suspicious that these ships just vanished from the pier? Someone on the inside must be involved.

      • Tom J June 18, 2024

        Exactly. Corruption in the police force is likely. This isn’t the first time something like this happened.

      • Joe June 18, 2024

        Agreed, there’s certainly more to this story. Hopefully, they’ll find everyone involved.

      • Catherine June 18, 2024

        It’s highly likely that some officials were paid off. There’s always more beneath the surface in such cases.

    • Stan June 18, 2024

      Absolutely, this level of smuggling could never happen without some kind of inside help.

  2. Anya S June 18, 2024

    Is anyone considering the economic implications? This smuggling signifies a huge loss to the government’s revenue.

    • Leo D June 18, 2024

      Exactly! This smuggling might cause fuel price hikes, affecting ordinary people.

    • Grower134 June 18, 2024

      It’s the same old story, the rich get away with it and the poor suffer.

  3. Steve June 18, 2024

    I wonder what the authorities are planning for the recovered oil and the ships.

    • Anne June 18, 2024

      Knowing how things go, they’ll probably auction them off. The question is, will any real oversight be conducted?

    • Steve June 18, 2024

      Right, there must be transparency in these transactions to prevent further corruption.

    • Kate R June 18, 2024

      Transparency is always lacking. They’ll just pocket the money and move on.

  4. Mark June 18, 2024

    Shouldn’t more stringent laws be implemented to deter such smugglers?

    • Linda June 18, 2024

      It’s not just stricter laws; they need to be enforced properly. Otherwise, it’s pointless.

    • Mark June 18, 2024

      You’re right. Strong laws without enforcement are toothless.

  5. Jerry June 18, 2024

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the environmental impact of this! Smuggling oil can lead to spills and pollution.

    • Lyn June 18, 2024

      Absolutely, the environmental damage can be catastrophic. It seems people often overlook this aspect.

    • EmilyB123 June 18, 2024

      Totally agree! Environmental oversight should be a priority in cracking down on such operations.

    • Jerry June 18, 2024

      Correct! We need to think long-term. Oil spills would devastate marine life in the area.

  6. Tina June 18, 2024

    It’s a high-stakes game. Criminals are getting smarter, but so are the authorities. Kudos to Thai police.

    • Carl June 18, 2024

      Yeah, but let’s not kid ourselves. Once caught, new ones spring up. It’s a never-ending battle.

  7. Rex June 18, 2024

    How reliable can these witnesses and new suspects be? Anyone else smell something fishy?

    • Bob L June 18, 2024

      Yes, something doesn’t add up. This whole situation might just be a cover-up.

  8. Sue McArthur June 18, 2024

    It seems odd that the ships made it so far without detection. Why did it take so long to intercept them?

    • Leo Meyer June 18, 2024

      Because the system is flawed. There needs to be a better international coordination to deal with such cases.

    • Helen June 19, 2024

      The logistical challenges can be quite complex, but yeah, improvements are necessary.

  9. Alice June 18, 2024

    Has anyone thought about the people behind this? How do they even begin to dismantle such a network?

    • Derek June 18, 2024

      Those at the top rarely get caught. It’s usually the little guys paying the price.

    • Alice June 19, 2024

      True. However, tackling the lower levels can lead to clues about higher-ups.

    • Sarita June 19, 2024

      End of the day, greed fuels all of this. As long as there’s profit to be made, it won’t stop.

  10. John D June 19, 2024

    They mentioned three or four officers might be involved. Shouldn’t this be a bigger deal?

    • Pat K June 19, 2024

      Agreed, holding officers accountable publicly would set a strong precedent.

  11. Anonymous June 19, 2024

    I bet the mafia has its hands all over this operation.

    • Randy June 19, 2024

      Most likely, criminal organizations often have extensive networks for such operations.

  12. Karim June 19, 2024

    Are there not better technological solutions to prevent this? GPS tracking, etc.?

    • Hannah June 19, 2024

      There are, but implementing them widely and efficiently is another story.

  13. Nina P June 19, 2024

    Someone always finds a way to game the system, no matter the tech in place.

  14. Oscar June 19, 2024

    This whole smuggling ring sounds like something out of a movie. Reality really is stranger than fiction.

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