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Raised South Korean ferry Sewol arrives at port

Raised South Korean ferry Sewol arrives at portThe South Korean ferry Sewol on Friday arrived at the southwestern Mokpo New Port on a semisubmersible recovery ship, 1,080 days after it sank in waters off the island of Jindo.

The recovery ship arrived at the port in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, six hours after it began sailing from the site where the Sewol was raised and placed onto it. The recovery ship was safely secured at the port 30 minutes later, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

It will take about a week to detach the ferry from the recovery vessel and move it into a dry dock, a task expected to be completed by next Thursday.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said 456 module transporters will be maneuvered under Sewol between Saturday and Monday.

Sufficient time and effort are necessary to firmly secure the transporters, designed to move heavy objects, under the ferry for the weight to be evenly distributed. The transporters will be divided into six rows of 76, it said.

Moving the Sewol into the dry dock will take place between Tuesday and Saturday, when the first neap tide of April is forecast, as the least wave interference is expected then.

After Sewol is placed on a dry dock, an investigation committee will begin to look for the remains of the nine victims unaccounted for.

The government will finalise details of the investigation schedule after determining whether it is safe for recovery workers to enter the ferry. Sterilisation of the inside of the ship will also be essential.

The ministry hired Chungbuk National University archaeology professor Park Sun-ju to assist the government task force dispatched to the port to recover the remains while minimising damage.

The task force was initiated to effectively deal with the aftermath of the Sewol disaster.

The government has dispatched 105 government officials from the ministries of fisheries, public safety and security, education, justice, health and welfare, employment and labor, environment and interior to Mokpo. They will work at 55 temporary container offices to be set up on a 3,000-square-meter lot.

A team comprised of 10 National Forensic Service and six Coast Guard officials will be tasked with identifying the victims there.

As Mokpo New Port is set to be designated as a high-security area, a memorial altar may be set up at a nearby site which has a clear view of the ferry, according to the city and the ministry.

The 6,800-ton ferry sank in the waters off Jindo on April 16, 2014, killing more than 300 crewmembers and passengers, mostly high school students on a class trip.
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