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(LEAD) More transporter vehicles to be deployed to move Sewol ferry on land

All News 15:44 April 07, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS quote, details in last 3 paras)

MOKPO, South Korea, April 7 (Yonhap) -- More transporter vehicles will be deployed in an effort to move the salvaged Sewol ferry onto land, government officials said Friday.

Salvage workers have been trying to move the ill-fated ferry onto land at the port of Mokpo, some 410 kilometers southwest of Seoul, from a semisubmersible transport ship. The ferry was raised from the bottom of the sea last month.

But the land-transfer operation has run into an obstacle, as the ferry is estimated to weigh about 16,000 tons due to water and mud that has entered the hull.

A total of 480 module transporters, or platform vehicles with a large array of wheels used to move massive objects, were deployed, but officials decided to deploy 120 more by Saturday morning, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The vessel sank off the country's southwestern coast near Jindo Island in April 2014, claiming more than 300 lives, mostly high school students on a school excursion. Nine of them still remain missing.

When the ferry is put in dry dock, it will be searched thoroughly for the remains of the victims.

Lee Cheol-jo, a senior ministry official in charge of the salvage operation, told reporters that the government is aiming to move the Sewol ferry onto land by next Monday.

"We are preparing all measures to complete the ship's transfer to land by April 10," Lee said.

Meanwhile, officials from a British marine surveying firm, Brookes Bell, were on board the semisubmersible transport ship and launched an initial survey of the hull, the ministry said.

(LEAD) More transporter vehicles to be deployed to move Sewol ferry on land - 1


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