Plans of raising the sunken Sewol Ferry have finally been announced more than a year after the tragedy occurred, resulting in the loss of 304 lives, most of whom where teenage students.
According to an announcement by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security on April 22nd, the retrieval of the ferry will most likely occur in September and may take up to 18 months to complete, costing up to 150 billion won ($139 million USD). However, this cost will most likely increase should there be any kind of delays or technical issues.
But many families of the victims are insisting that the government come up with a plan to salvage the wreckage.
Public Safety Minister Park In Yong revealed in a news conference that the priority in the upcoming project would be minimizing hull damage to the ship, as well as retrieving the remaining nine bodies who have yet to be recovered to this day. The nine bodies are believed to be trapped in the hull of the ship. The Minister further shares that the plans are to lift the ferry “from the sea bottom without changing its current position.”
“The main part of the recovery will involve divers drilling scores of holes into the hull that’s lying on its left side and chaining it to two cranes that will pull the vessel out of the sea.”
The minister continues to outline that there are immense risks in this project, not just because of the obvious safety risks, but the uncertainties due to the strong currents in that area and the past summer’s typhoon may have rendered the ship more unstable and destruction of the ship may be inevitable during its salvaging.
“The retrieval will be carried out with our full efforts and in a way that does not create collateral safety accidents,” said Oceans Minister Yoo Ji Jun, adding that they will soon start the process of selecting salvage firms from both domestic and abroad, as the South Korea currently does not have the man power alone to do the job.
The salvage team will be attempting to haul back a 6,825-ton hull that is estimated to be more than 8,400-ton underwater and 10,200-ton when being lifted from the water.
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