In the heat of brisk maritime exercises, an unfortunate incident struck HTMS Naresuan, a frigate anchored with years of seafaring history and heritage. A torpedo launcher, a piece of vital equipment in this modern naval vessel, along with several life rafts, was damaged in what you might call a ‘dockside disaster’. The mishap took place at the industrious Map Taphut boat pier on a crisp Wednesday morning of July 26.
Have you ever heard of HTMS Naresuan before? Commissioned close to three decades back, it had its imposing structure built by the mighty hands of the Chinese. It is not every day that such seasoned, stately vessels come about the accident, but here we are dealing with the inexplicable forces of fate and tide.
At the time of the incident, HTMS Naresuan, with her gallant crew, was participating in an affair of strategic security significance. It was the Naval Security Port and Ship Map Taphut Exercise 2023, fondly known among local navy circles as Nasmex 2023. The event, spreading from July 25 through 27, was hosted at the bustling Map Taphut industrial port in the scenic Muang district, located in Thailand’s significant Rayong province.
The damage done could not be swept under the carpet as a minor setback. One of the torpedo launcher’s three tubes was among the victims of this unfortunate event. Torpedo launchers play a critical role on naval platforms, and any damage to them could effectively marginalize a ship’s combat effectiveness. The broken life rafts added an extra dash of concern to the whole situation. After all, these are the last resort of survival in the harsh and demanding environment of the open sea.
Put a price tag on this damage? The navy source suggested the figure stands at the imposing end of the scale. The estimate to repair this acclaimed vessel reaches a staggering 100 million Baht. That’s not a cost one usually associates with a simple accident, suggesting the extent of the damage was substantial.
Shaken by this significant setback, the Royal Thai Fleet has initiated an inquiry. The purpose? To probe deep into the incident that resulted in such an exorbitant bill. All eyes are now eagerly awaiting the result of this costly affair, hoping to understand and perhaps learn from what went wrong on that fateful Wednesday.