The government of South Korea has finalized a deal with a China-led consortium for the salvage of the sunken Sewol ferry off Jindo island.
South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced the contract signing on Tuesday with Shanghai Salvage together with South Korea-based Ocean C&I. The Shanghai Salvage consortium beat out six others competing for the tender with a bid of 85.1 billion won ($74 million) to raise the sunken vessel.
Shanghai Salvage’s plan calls for the ferry to be refloated in one piece by only a few meters and moved onto a steel platform that will then be lifted by giant cranes to the surface.
The Sewol ferry sank April 19, 2015 near Jindo, South Korea with the loss of more than 300 lives, most of them high school students on a class trip. The wreck lies at a depth of 44 meters.
The South Korean government made its decision to salvage the vessel in April after a government committee concluded that it would be technically possible. The government has said it hopes to begin the work in September.
The bodies of nine victims are still missing and may be inside the ship.