November 25, 2017
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Skipper missing from Myanmar attack

Foreign Ministry waits for word on Kayu's fate

The wife of the missing captain of a fishing boat which was allegedly attacked by Myanmar soldiers on Saturday has pleaded for authorities to continue their search.

Piyanan Jan-on's husband, Kayu Suksawat, 47, was last seen on a Thai fishing boat after a Myanmar warship allegedly launched an attack on the vessel in an overlapping border area off the Ranong coast.

Ms Piyanan yesterday told the Bangkok Post that Thai navy officers had not found her husband when they searched near the alleged attack site around Koh Khom and Koh Chang in late afternoon yesterday.

"We still don't know whether he is dead or still alive but my two children and I are still waiting for his return," Ms Piyanan said.

"We do not want authorities to stop the search for him until we know about his fate."

Ms Piyanan, 46, said she is praying for her husband's safety.

She said her two children were missing sleep, they were so worried.

"No one knows exactly how we are feeling. We're suffering at the moment," she said.

Ms Piyanan said she was confused yesterday when she read news reports that her husband had been rescued by Myanmar naval officers and was being kept in custody by them.

She had not received any information either from the Thailand side or from the Myanmar side about his fate.

Thai media reports quoted a Thai navy source as confirming that Mr Kayu was being detained by Myanmar authorities.

Ms Piyanan said the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) for Ranong and Kawthaung must make inquiries about her husband's disappearance and hold meetings to discuss the problem of the overlapping border area off the Ranong coast to prevent further incidents.

Myanmar navy officers allegedly opened fire on the trawler Montri Thawisin 3 early on Saturday morning near Koh Khom, an island near a disputed border.

It is about two nautical miles off Koh Chang, the largest island off Ranong province.

A source from the Royal Thai Navy said Myanmar navy officers opened fire on the Thai trawler, after it entered the overlapping border area.

When the fishing vessel was allegedly attacked the skipper ordered his crew of 14 _ comprising Myanmar nationals _ to jump into the sea.

However, Ms Piyanan said one of the Myanmar crew members, who survived and returned to Ranong yesterday, told her that the fishing vessel was sailing inside Thai territorial waters.

She said the Myanmar crew member told her that he was the last on board with her husband after he told the others to leap off the boat.

"My husband was last seen by this Myanmar guy who could not confirm whether he was taken by Myanmar naval officers or not," she said.

The fishing vessel belongs to Surin Losong, who is also the chairman of Ranong Fishermen's Association.

Mr Surin said he was contacted by Mr Kayu about 1.30am on Saturday.

He said his boat was attacked by Myanmar warship PGM Number 426. Mr Surin said Mr Kayu claimed that the Myanmar boat encroached on Thai territory.

Shortly after the incident, the Royal Thai Navy's Third Naval Area Command, which oversees Thai territories on the Andaman Sea, sent a protest note to Myanmar. No word was to hand on the response.

The Foreign Ministry is waiting for more information from state agencies involved before taking further steps.

This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on September 23, 2013.

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