The Sewol wreck has finally been moved into a dry dock at the South Korean Port of Mokpo, the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said in a statement.
On April 12, the exterior condition of the ship’s hull will be examined, cleaned and disinfected.
Following this, safety checks will be carried out, according to the chief of the salvage operation, Lee Cheol-jo.
The search operation for nine missing persons who are believed to be inside the wreck is expected to commence next week.
The hull has corroded since its lifting onto land and several structures within the wreck had collapsed, hampering the search further.
The ferry sank off Jindo Island on April 16, 2014, killing 304 people, 250 of which were high school students on a school trip.
The salvage project, conducted by a Chinese consortium led by Shanghai Salvage, started in June 2016. However, bad weather and technical problems postponed the project several times.
On March 23, 2017, the South Korean government managed to lift the wreck. The resting place of the 6,825-ton ship was some 44 meters below the surface.
A few days later, on March 31, the wreck of the ill-fated ferry was transported to the Port of Mokpo on a semi-submersible vessel.
An investigation into the incident found that several factors had led to the sinking of the ferry, including an illegal remodeling of the ferry to increase the cargo load, cargo overloading, and the steersman’s poor helmsmanship.