Sewol to be raised in September, says Korean government

South Korean authorities will attempt to raise the Sewol ferry, which claimed more than 300 lives, many of them children, when it capsized and sank just over a year ago.

The plan includes moving the wreck, currently resting 44 m below sea level, to shallower waters using cranes, from where it can be hoisted onto a floating dock.

Recovery of the ferry will be made more difficult by its age, said Public Safety Minister Park In-yong, describing the two-decade-old wreck as “severely weakened”. The operation is expected to take at least a year and up to $185m to complete.

“Numerous technical risks and uncertainties exist…but we have made the decision with the wishes of the people and victims’ families in mind,” said Park.

Sewol capsized in April 2014 after attempting a sharp turn in heavy weather, while severely overloaded.

Speaking earlier today at the Sea Asia 2015 Conference, IMO secretary general Koji Sekimizu announced he would seek to increase safety on domestic passenger vessels despite the issue falling outside the scope of the UN organisation.

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