BANGALMUNG – October 21, 2012 [PDN]: an official ceremony for the sinking of the Royal ship Mattapone was held on the deck of the Royal ship, Bangpakong. The chairman of the ceremony was Rear Admiral Rungsuk Rungsak Sereesawas, commissioner of Royal Navy 1.
The aging Royal ship Mattapone, number 761, was sunk at the east side of Koh Larn island, Nakluea, Banglamung, Chonburi. The Mattapone was a warship used in service for more than 61 years at sea. However, the aging vessel will continue to perform a valuable service underwater to help the restoration of marine resources and the ecosystem by becoming the new home of future marine life.
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources joined the Royal Navy, and the Pattaya City office to coordinate the ship’s sinking, and used more than 16 million THB to sink the ship. The project manager, Mr. Noppol Seesuk the general director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said that Pattaya is now one of the top tourist attraction spots, drawing plenty of tourists who are and investing and generating large amounts of revenue for the country.
Koh Larn island is under the supervision of Pattaya City, and one of the spots that tourists are interested in when going to the beach and snorkeling. Eventually, the new reef could be a learning center and further increase the attraction of Pattaya, he said.
The purpose of the sinking is to reserve marine resources, and to manage the use of marine resource to be balanced and conform to the core principle of a sufficient and sustainable self-reliant economy. In keeping with the commitment of the Royal family to the Kingdom’s natural resources, the official ceremony also honored the 60th birthday of the crown prince, Prince Maha Wachiralongkorn.
As for the history of Mattapon royal ship, after the World War II had ended, the United States offered Thailand the opportunity to buy surplus ships that the U.S. had used during the war. The Thai Royal Marines arranged to buy the Mattapone, which was transported to Subic Bay in the Philippines. It was delivered to Thailand on September 1953.
The ship arrived at Ta Rachaworadit, Bangkok, and on November 20, 1953, H.M. King Bhumibol presided over the ceremony that commissioned the ship for duty.
The Mattapone, Royal Ship No.761, was 9.76 meters wide, and 35.25 meters long. About 35 crewmen were stationed on the vessel. The ship’s primary function was to transport troops to go ashore, and up to the present it was used in many support activities by the navy.
Counting its wartime duty, the ship had been in active service for more than 61 years, and was retired in 2008. It had been well used by both countries, but over the decades its condition had deteriorated. So the aging vessel will now serve as a home for marine life in its final resting place — a new graveyard named Ruea Mattapone — under the sea forever.