SEOUL: Bad weather and high tides have again delayed the resumption of operations to raise South Korea’s sunken Sewol ferry, the maritime ministry said Monday (Jun 27).
The vessel was carrying 476 people when it went down off the southwestern island of Jindo in April 2014, leaving 304 people dead – mostly school children – in one of the country’s worst maritime disasters.
After already being pushed back once due to bad weather, the salvage operation had been scheduled to resume Tuesday but has now been put off for another two weeks.
“The operations for raising the bow and installing lifting beams have been inevitably delayed to July 11 due to bad weather, including high tide and winds,” the maritime ministry said in a statement.
“Because the lifting of the bow section is a very challenging operation… it can only be conducted when the tide is below one metre (three feet),” it added.
The tide is forecast to be around two to four metres in the next few days, according to the ministry.
It is thought that nine bodies still unaccounted for may still be trapped inside the sunken ship, and raising the ferry intact was a key demand of the victims’ families.
The 6,825-tonne ferry lies more than 40 metres (130 feet) below the surface and the process of actually lifting it off the seabed began earlier this month – only to be suspended a day later due to adverse weather conditions.
The salvage effort is expected to cost around US$72 million and is being led by a Chinese …