The 6,825-ton Sewol tragically sank off Jindo Island on April 16, 2014, killing 304 people onboard, 250 of whom were high school students on a school trip.
Preparations are currently being carried out to lift the vessel and transport it to the South Korean Port of Mokpo for further inspections. The hull of the ship will be lifted by two jack-up barges and the operation is expected to last ten to fifteen days, South Korean news site Korea Herald reported.
The salvage project, conducted by a Chinese consortium led by Shanghai Salvage, started in June 2016. But bad weather and ongoing technical issues dogged the project, leading to a postponement.
The operation to recover the 146 metre ferry, which currently lies at a depth of some 44 meters, is expected to cost around USD 72 million.
Last year, South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the Sewol would not be cut but hoisted in one piece in order to keep any remains of the passengers who are still listed as missing inside the wreck.