Twenty-seven companies will be bidding to salvage the capsized Sewol ferry.
The tender, called by South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), closed on 23 June.
The companies formed seven consortiums. Five of these groups comprise local and multinational salvage companies, while two groups comprise only local companies.
The five consortiums comprising local and non-Korean salvage companies are taking the leading roles. Of the 27 participants, there are two US-based companies, one Dutch company, one Danish company, and two China-based companies.
Consortiums comprising local and multinational salvage companies stand a better chance of clinching the contract as they will be given extra points during the assessment.
The evaluation will begin from early July. Technological know-how will account for 80% of the evaluation, while costs would form the remaining 20% of the prerequisites.
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The MOF will organise an evaluation panel comprising experts in submerged structures, hull structure, and equipment, among others.
During the two-day assessment, the experts will be huddled together and shut off from all outside contact. They will evaluate the companies’ technological know-how and their proposals.
After the technological evaluations are completed, the results will be combined with those of cost evaluations. The companies will be ranked and the anointed preferred bidder will be negotiating with the MOF to hammer out the salvage contract.
The MOF said, “There has been no precedent of lifting up a vessel in the water as massive as the 6,586-tonne ferry Sewol in one piece and Koreans are turning their attention to the task of salvaging the ship. Given the situation, we promise that we will select a company equipped with the best available technology and complete the salvage work successfully.”
Sewol capsized during a routine Incheon-Jeju trip on 16 April 2014, leaving 304 of 476 passengers and crew dead or missing. The ferry remains submerged in the Maenggol Channel of the Yellow Sea, an area notorious for its swift and unpredictable currents.
Nine bodies remain missing and their families want the ferry to be hoisted at the earliest opportunity in hopes of finding the corpses.