Hints as to identity of sunken ghost ship off Thailand

The abandoned, listing, and eventually sunk ghost ship off the coast of Thailand could have been a vessel that was involved in the unregistered distribution of oil to various countries, according to Thai investigators.

The vessel, marked as the Jin Shui Yuan 2 and with some Chinese markings, was found abandoned and listing in the Gulf of Thailand on January 8th near Chevron’s offshore oil rigs, about 100nm off the Songkhla coastline.

After being taken on tow by the Royal Thai Navy, the vessel was too far gone to avoid sinking.

There were no documents or registration numbers were on the vessel and only the ship’s name indicated that it was of Chinese origin.

Initial analysis suggested that the ship might have been operating for a long period of time without proper maintenance, while having difficulties to find somewhere to dock for repairs. If the tanker’s movement of oil was unregistered, it could have been taking place ship-to-ship, with the vessel hardly ever touching land.

There was a Chinese vessel registered as Jin Shui Yuan 2, but it was last reported in 2020, with its last-transmitted position transmitted being in November 2020 in the East China Sea. Thailand will be asking for international cooperation from Singapore and the US to gather more information and details on the ship, with the aim of establishing the identity of the owners.

The sunken wreck is not a hazard to maritime traffic and Thailand said that there was no risk to the environment. The amount of oil leaking out of the wreckage was insignificant and was expected to dissipate within a few days. Buoys have been placed in the area to warn local traffic of the wreckage, which is at about 28nm off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat.