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(2nd LD) Sewol ferry ready to be moved onto land as final test completed

All News 18:17 April 08, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with latest information)

MOKPO, South Korea, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Efforts to move the salvaged wreck of the Sewol ferry onto land will likely start on Sunday as the final test of the massive operation was completed, government officials said Saturday.

"As a result of our land-transfer test for the Sewol ferry using 600 module transporters, we came to the conclusion that there will be no problem from a safety perspective in moving the vessel onto land," the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.

Salvage workers have been trying to move the 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 600 module transporters, or platform vehicles with a large array of wheels used to move massive objects, have been deployed.

The ministry said as the test was completed and showed no problem in terms of safety, the operation to transfer the vessel from the semisubmersible to land will likely start at around 1 p.m. Sunday when the tide will be high.

The Sewol ferry 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.

(2nd LD) Sewol ferry ready to be moved onto land as final test completed - 1


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