South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that it will start the salvage operation of the Sewol passenger ship next month and complete it before the end of July. The 6,825-ton ship, sank off the country’s southwestern coast two years ago while en route to the southern resort island of Jeju killing 304 people mostly high school students on a field trip.
CNN reports that Yeon Youngjin, deputy minister for the Marine Policy Office, told journalists Thursday that the ministry has used long-term maritime data to put together a salvage operation plan, which is projected to finish by the end of July. The operation will attempt to lift the 140-meter long ferry from beneath the water without having to cut it into pieces. Doing so will help recover bodies believed to be still trapped inside of it. Nine bodies are still unaccounted for.
“We will recover the vessel without cutting the 145 meter-long ship as we do not want to lose any missing bodies believed to remain inside the ship,” the ministry said , Yonhap News reports.
The 85.1 billion won (US$72 million) project to recover the ship will be operated by a Chinese consortium led by China’s state-run Shanghai Salvage. Divers have closed all openings of the ship with nets to prevent any contents of the ship from slipping out.