August 05, 2015 09:22
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Tuesday signed a contract with a Chinese-led consortium to raise the ferry Sewol, a spokesman said.
The ministry earlier chose the consortium consisting of China's state-run Shanghai Salvage and Korean underwater operator Ocean C&I to raise the ferry that sank off Jindo, South Jeolla Province on April 16 last year.
They proposed to raise the ferry at a cost of W85.1 billion by next July (US$1=W1,166). Shanghai Salvage also recovered the cruise ship Eastern Star that sank in the Yangtze River in June.
The money will be paid after each of three phases of the salvage process -- removal of fuel from the ship's tank and preventing wreckage from floating away, pulling the hull out of the water and bringing it to a berth, and putting the hull into dry dock.
The contractors will indemnify the government for all accidents including diving injuries.
In a press briefing with the ministry, Chinese transportation ministry official Hong Chong pledged to give top priority to the complete recovery of the remains of the nine missing passengers.
Shanghai Salvage will first send an unmanned underwater vehicle as well as divers down to conduct a precision survey of the sunken ferry.
An operations center will be built near Paengmok Port in Jindo and another command post in waters where the ferry sank. About 100 divers and 100 technicians will be mobilized.
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