April 15, 2016 09:43
Preparations for the salvage of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast in April 2014 is progressing on schedule, the government here said Thursday.
Divers recently finished encircling the nearby seabed with 36 three-m-high fences to prevent remains from floating away, a spokesman for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said. Salvage should be complete as planned by the end of July.
Earlier, divers also installed steel mesh over 164 of the ferry's 264 windows for fear that remains should float away during the salvage process.
Shanghai Salvage, a Chinese salvage firm, is now lightening the ferry's hull before it begins salvage work by pumping air into the empty spaces and installing air bags and pontoons for additional buoyancy.
Once this process is finished late this month, the ferry's underwater weight will drop from 8,300 tons to 3,300 tons.
Afterwards, a crane will raise the bow by about five degrees so that 27 lifting beams can be placed beneath. Once they are in place, they will be connected to wires, which a 12,000-ton crane will lift.
Wang Weiping of Shanghai Salvage said, "The situation here is very bad due to the high-speed current and deep waters, but we'll complete the salvage work."
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