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Prospects for salvaging the vessel Updated: 2014-04-24 22:11:34 KST

 Prospects for salvaging the vessel
With a request from families of the missing passengers of the Sewol-ho ferry to conclude search efforts by Thursday, discussion on how to salvage the wreckage will gain more momentum.
The large ferry weighs over 6-thousand tons on its own, but with the added weight it's expected to exceed 10-thousand tons.
Salvaging the 79-hundred-ton ferry Ariake, which capsized off the coast of Japan in 2009, was a challenging operation because of the cargo that had shifted to one side a similar situation with the Sewol-ho ferry.
It took over a year to salvage the ship with cranes, after cutting it into four pieces.
Then how about the operations for the Sewol-ho ferry?
Currently, there are five cranes on standby near the accident site, including an 8,ton crane, the largest in the country.
Floating docks are set to be brought in as well.
But the salvage process is likely to face a rough start, because the ferry now lies upside down.
Salvaging the ship as is may cause damage to the upper levels of the vessel.
The safest and the most realistic method being considered is to use both cranes and floating docks at the same time.
First, chains would go around the vessel then lift bags filled with air would be installed to slowly put the ship on its right side up, while pulling it closer to the surface.
Then the floating docks can be taken underwater to support the vessel from below and push it up.

"There may not be the expertise in Korea but interestingly, this is the method they intend to use for phase two for the Costa Concordia salvage. So there is a precedent. It is not easy, don't misunderstand me, it is not an easy operation but there is international help and experience available that may assist the Korean salvage company in achieving its aim."

The government continues to look through all options to identify the best method.
It has requested cranes and barges from China, while asking the Japanese shipbuilder that initially built the Sewol-ho ferry for assistance.
Lee Ji-yeong, Arirang News.
Reporter : JYL663@yahoo.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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