Ghost ship reported sunk

The falsely named cargo ship Jin Shui Yuan 2 – a name not in naval registries – which was found abandoned and listing in the Gulf of Thailand off Surat Thani on January 6th, is now reported to have sunk on Saturday January 8th while being towed to shore.

The vessel, of unknown origin, had been spotted in the Gulf of Thailand on January 5th while drifting near a Chevron Thailand oil platform about 70nm southeast of Koh Samui.

A drone was flown out for an aerial examination and a Thai patrol boat was sent to make a physical inspection. Later on January 5th the vessel was found by the patrol boat at the position reported by Chevron and naval officers went on board to conduct an examination. Chinese characters were seen on parts of the ship, but all the numbers had been scraped off. No crew were on board, and there were no signs of documents, cargo, anchor or other equipment. The ship was very old and appeared to have been intentionally abandoned.

The hull was about 50% full of water, causing the vessel to list at about 35 degrees. The naval officers used electricity from the patrol boat to pump water out in an attempt to prevent the vessel from sinking. However, the waves grew stronger and the pumping was called off for safety reasons. The naval patrol boat was ordered to leave the site.

On January 8th a tug was dispatched to the spot to tow the ship to the mouth of the Tapi river in Muang district of Surat Thani. However, later that night when the ship was about 28nm from the Sichon district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, it sank to a depth of about 28 metres.

The marine office of Nakhon Si Thammarat issued a warning for fishing boats to beware while navigating in the area. Oil was reported to have leaked from the ship and formed slicks on the surface. However, it was said that the slicks would be cleaned up in a few days before they could cause environmental damage.