Royal Thai Navy Bases
Major operational bases for the fleet, the marines, and the air units are the naval stations in Bangkok and Songkhla and the major naval bases at Sattahip and Ban Pak Nam.
In 1977 the government began construction of a new naval base in Ban Thap Mo District of Phangnga Province facing the Andaman Sea and approaches to the southern region. The new Phangnga naval base, completed by 1983, had a large steel-reinforced concrete wharf, dockyard, arsenal, living quarters for naval personnel, and other military facilities. The new base gave the Thai navy a modest but much-needed operations and support facility on the west coast of the Isthmus of Kra.
Thonburi Naval Dockyard
After World War 11 ended, the Royal Thai Navy issued a policy to acquire more platforms to replace aging vessels which was awaiting decommissioning. Set on grounds of 40 rai (8 acre), the Thonburi Naval Dockyard played an important role in building and repairing ships. The first steel ship built -- by its personnel was HTMS Sattahip. However, with the increasing demand for ships, the dockyard that once seemed spacious became very small and limited. The dockyard could not offer enough piers and facilities to accommodate ships for construction and maintenance and the navy was compelled to utilize services of other private dockyards. In addition, with the fast pace modernisation of Bangkok, Thonburi Naval Dockyard, seated in what is now quite a central part of the city was no longer in a suitable location.
Phrachulachomklao Naval Dockyard
When the Royal Thai Navy decided to construct a new dockyard, the V.S. government sent a group of experts and specialists to help survey the area and give technical assistance and advice to the Royal Thai Navy Working Group. The group recommended Phrachulachomklao Fort for the construction of the new dockyard as well as the modification of the Ship Repair Facility of Sattahip Naval Base for the second dockyard.
The Phrachulachomklao Naval Dockyard was thus planned on 400 rai (80 acre) of land near Phrachulachomklao Fort, Samut Prakam Province to the south of Bangkok. The dockyard is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, 2 kilometers from the mouth of the river, and 8 kilometers from the Naval Academy.
The Royal Thai Navy proposed the construction project to the Defense Ministry in September 1970. A budget of 600 million baht was approved for the construction. When the first phase of the construction was completed, an opening ceremony of the Phrachulachomklao Naval Dockyard was organised on 7 May 1981. Their Majesties the King and the Queen, accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, proceeded to the dockyard to preside over the opening ceremony. The new dockyard was auspiciously named by His Majesty the King as Phrachulachomklao Naval Dockyard.
Phrachulachomklao Naval Dockyard is capable of repairing war ships of 3,000 tons or auxiliaries of 5,000 tons, refitting, overhauling engines and power generators as well as electronic equipment.
Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard
As part of the 1997 Royal Thai Armed Forces Structural Development programs, the Royal Thai Navy acquired a number of ships with a displacement of 20,000 tons such as HTMS Chakri Naruebet and HTMS Similan. With these large ships, the Royal Thai Navy found itself short of facilities to. conduct understructure maintenance and repairs.
Fully aware of this problem, the Royal Thai Navy made it a priority to find a location to build anew dry dock No. 3. The present Phrachulachomkloa Naval Dockyard site had earlier been proposed and approved by the ministry of Defense. However, no sooner than a budget of 1,800 million baht (approx $45 million) was granted by the Ministry of Defense, the plan was changed. The Royal Thai Navy, after extensive deliberations and studies of the advantages of geographical features, decided upon Chuk Samet, Sattahip District, Chon Buri Province for the location of its new drydocks. Chuk Samet Bay was strategically considered more appropriate because it lies within convenient reaches of the Royal Thai Fleet and other naval installations such as Sattahip Naval Base, the Naval Air Division and offered good protection from strong winds and stromy seas.
The Ministry of Defense granted its approval for the Royal Thai Navy to construct a dry dock at the new site at Chuk Samet as proposed. The dry dockyard, with a dimension of 40 meters wide , 236 meters long and 145 meters deep at mean sea level, is regarded as the largest in Southeast Asia. The construction cost soared up to 30,000 million baht ($750 million),exceeding the granted budget due to the added-on facilities such as quays, office buildings and workshops to resident building, electrical and water supply factories.
On 27 December 1995, His Majesty the King graciously granted the name of Mahidol Adulyadej for the new dockyard. On 21 April 1998, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn performed the ground breaking ceremony as a royal representative of His Majesty the King. The construction started in February 1995 with Phase One dealing with sounding the depth of the channel facing across from the dock and then marking the areas for dredging. More than 3 million cubic meter of mud and saturated sand were drawn and discharged ashore in front of the dry dock claiming an area of more than 1,000 rai (200 acres) for add-on facilities. Then the floor, walls, and caissons were put in place. A dry dock, two quays, office buildings, a control tower and other necessary facilities was constructed.
Phase two commenced on 15 September 1997 immediately after Phase One. This phase took 5 years involving the construction of office buildings, workshops, a store, a club and service supply facilities and a 200,000 cubic meter water pond at the north of the dockyard. Machines and mechanical tools for service, such as a portal crane, a crane rail, a sectional dock gate, an engine testing bench and other specific tools used for MTD engine maintenance were also purchased during this phase. Phase two was completed in 2002.
In addition, the dockyard also provided accommodation and facilities for its personnel such as living quarters, a football field, a swimming pool, and a gym. With the completion of the dockyard, the Naval Dockyard Department is now ready to assure the Royal Thai Navy of its ability to provide repair and maintenance service to all platforms for present and future operational readiness.
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