Sewol salvage delayed by weather

South Korean moves a step closer to recovering ferry, but weather delays prove frustrating.

An attempt to salvage the wreck of the ro-pax ferry 6,825-ton Sewol (built 1994) on Saturday was reportedly postponed due to bad weather.

On Saturday, the South Korean government said it canceled its plan to salvage it over the weekend, reports Yonhap news wire.

The operation will now likely take place on or after April 5, when the next neap tide is expected, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

However, test runs to see if the ferry can be raised can start as early as Wednesday, Yonhap reported quoting an unnamed official.

Once hoisted, the wreck will be moved onto a semi-submersible and transferred to a port in Mokpo, with the transportation process likely to take about 20 hours.

Last week South Korea said that it is ready to lift the ferry that sank in April 2014 with the loss of more than 300 people, mostly school children.

“We will make full efforts to hoist the ship and land it at a port in Mokpo before the third anniversary,” said Yoon Hag-bae, vice minister of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“I’m very sorry that the schedule of the recovery has been delayed for long,” he said. “Now, we’ve completed the underwater tasks to lift the ship.”

Yoon made his comments during a meeting with the bereaved families of the missing people from the Sewol in Jindo, some 472km southeast of Seoul.

South Korea’s government has opted to salvage the ferry intact in order in a bid to keep any remains of the people still missing.

The project to recover the ship is reported to be costing KRW 85.1bn ($72m) and is being conducted by a Chinese consortium led by China’s state-run Shanghai Salvage.