S. Korean gov’t concludes physical recovery of sunken ferry possible

April 20, 2015
Other factors that may play a role include the cost of the project. Park said the particular method using offshore cranes and a floating dock is expected to cost at minimum 100 billion won (US$91.35 million), but could grow to more than 200 billion won depending on many elements such as duration. The project could easily last up to 18 months depending on weather conditions. The country's conservative groups are opposed to spending large amounts of taxpayers' money to salvage the sunken ferry. The government earlier said it has already spent some 185 billion won, mostly on search and rescue operations that lasted nearly seven months after the tragic sinking of the ship. It said at least an additional 250 billion won will be needed to compensate the victims, as well as residents and fishermen near the accident site who were forced to halt their daily jobs due to the prolonged search and rescue operation. The ministry official said other methods of recovery considered included using only offshore cranes, which will likely cost less than using both cranes and a floating dock. However, other methods may be excluded from the shortlist of available technologies as they may prove to be extremely dangerous, if not impossible, due to strong currents in the accident area. The ministry said it will work to publish a final report of the feasibility study before the end of the month and submit it to the central disaster control center, which will then make a final decision on whether to salvage the ship. Such a decision is expected to take at least a few months as Maritime Minister Yoo Ki-june has said it should be based on public consensus.


SEJONG (Yonhap) — A technical review has concluded the physical recovery of a passenger ferry that sank last year will be possible, the government said Monday, although a decision on whether the country will actually salvage the ship still needs to be made.

“As we now have the final outcome of a technical review that says the ship’s recovery is (technically) possible, the government will file a request with the central disaster control center today for a decision on whether to salvage the ship,” Maritime Minister Yoo Ki-june told a press briefing.

The ministry earlier said the outcome of its review will only help make the final decision on whether to physically recover the 6,800-ton ship, which could now easily weigh more than 10,000 tons with its cargo and the water that fills the ship.

However, the final outcome of the technical review comes after President Park Geun-hye pledged to salvage the ship as soon as possible, leaving the disaster control center only with the question of how the ship will be raised.