On March 31, South Korea’s Sewol Ferry arrived at the south-western harbour of Mokpo. As the ferry arrived in the harbour, citizens all gathered to greet the ferry with yellow banners. The salvage of the ferry has been in progress since March 22. It was scheduled to be moved a few days earlier but it was delayed because some experts suggested that the ferry is too heavy to move. Mud and water inside the ferry made the ferry even heavier than its departure. Workers drilled some holes to drain the water and the mud inside. The ferry was 8,000 to 8,500 tons at its departure but now it is estimated to weigh approximately 14,500 tons but it has been successfully lifted from the very bottom of the ocean after a long process. The lifting of the ferry was initially scheduled last year but it was postponed several times due to weather and the mechanism of the lifting. The ferry capsized in April 2014 causing 300 passenger deaths and most of them were students headed to Jeju Island for their field trip. Unfortunately, some bodies still haven’t been found. The accident is the country’s worst maritime tragedy. Former President Park Geun-hye was criticized for not being present when the whole country needed her and for the poor safety control. After the lift, over 50 items have been retrieved from the ill-fated ferry. The items are clothes, shoes, mobile phones and more items still to be identified. The bereaved families were in shock when some bones were found in the ferry but finally they were identified as animal bones. The false news made the bereaved families go out to sea when they saw the news that some remains were found in the ferry. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries apologized for creating confusion and promised to make progress. The recovery crew is also undergoing an analysis of the mud incase of any remains of the nine victims. The bereaved are still worried that the remains might be lost in the progress of moving the ferry. Furthermore, the Sewol Ferry captain’s passport was found. Lee Joon-seok is currently serving 36 years in prison for dereliction of duty and criminal negligence. However, no bodies of the missing passengers were found. The ferry is still going through investigations to look for any clues for the cause of the accident.
The salvage of the Sewol Ferry made some assumptions clear. Previously, the prosecutors suggested that the ferry was trying to make a sharp turn which they presumed to have caused the accident. However, a rudder found at the bottom of the ferry was turned 5 to 10 degrees which indicates that the ferry gears weren’t set to the large 35 degree as some specialists suggested. “There are a lot of circumstances at play. It’s possible that the hydraulic system adjusting the rudder could not hold on due to oil leaking or other damage from being underwater for three years. It could also have reversed from striking the ocean floor. Even if it had been turned 30 degrees to right at the time of the accident, the helmsman could have turned it back five to seven degrees in a panic from the listing. We’d have to do a close examination to be sure.” said Mokpo National Maritime University professor Yang Won.
Everyone is hoping to find out the real cause of the accident and are hoping to find the remains of the missing passengers for the bereaved ones.
|The Sewol ferry capsized in April 2014 causing 300 passenger deaths|
Jeong Seung-in, reporter email@example.com
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