Ferry Salvage Cost Capped at W100 Billion

      May 26, 2015 12:07

      The government has decided to cap the total salvage cost for the sunken ferry Sewol at W100 billion (US$1=W1,091).

      The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries earlier estimated the total cost at W122.8 billion based on letters of intent submitted in September by seven bidders. But it now says the amount did not reflect cost-cutting via competitive bidding. A ministry official said, "We concluded that setting the cap will have only a minimal impact on a smooth bidding process."

      Some 20 foreign and domestic salvage companies are vying for the bid and the ministry says chances are high that the total cost will be less than W100 billion. The government seems to be wary of controversy over excessive use of taxpayers' money in a project of this scale.

      The project is complex since the ferry, which sank in April last year killing nearly 300 people, lies on its side in deep water with strong currents and cannot be broken up for fear of damaging remaining bodies.

      The ministry is also requiring bidders to film the entire salvage process with high-definition cameras to leave evidence for future audits.

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