April 15, 2010 09:13
The stern of the sunken Navy corvette Cheonan will be pulled to the surface on Thursday, 20 days after it sank in the West Sea on March 26.
The Defense Ministry will raise the stern from the 25 m-deep seabed on Thursday after a third chain was successfully wrapped around it on Wednesday night. The ministry will place the stern on a barge to search for missing sailors after draining it and move it on a tugboat to the Second Navy Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
It will take 11 hours to raise the stern and search for missing sailors, the ministry added. The military will then attempt to salvage the bow on April 23.
The ministry, however, decided to show only a portion of the ripped-off part of the stern to the public, despite widespread calls for complete transparency in investigating the cause of the sinking.
The Navy will pull the stern to the surface and place it on a barge after covering it with fishing nets and allow only a limited number of reporters to take pictures of it from a distance of 273 m.
A spokesman for the families of missing sailors said that day, "In an examination of the ripped-off part of the stern, which was seen above the surface briefly while it was hauled to shallower waters, the engine control room and the gas turbine room were severely damaged, so it may be impossible to search for seven to 10 sailors who are presumed to have become trapped there."
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