Salvage divers working to hoist the capsized Sewol ferry have gained entry into the vessel.
South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that the team made a breakthrough when salvage works resumed on 27 August. Works were suspended due to Typhoon Goni on 24 August.
Sewol, carrying 476 passengers and crew, capsized during a routine Incheon-Jeju trip on 16 April 2014, leaving 304 of them dead or missing. Nine bodies remain missing.
Related news: Shanghai Salvage-led consortium seals Sewol job
The ro-ro ferry remains submerged in the Yellow Sea.
On 4 August, MOF signed a contract with a consortium comprising Chinese state-owned salvage firm Shanghai Salvage and South Korean subsea engineering firm Ocean C&I.
Shanghai Salvage had hoisted the Chinese ferry Eastern Star, which capsized in the Yangtze River in June.
The Sewol ferry has passenger cabins, a compartment for vehicles, and an engine room.
MOF said there is an entry zone for the divers on both decks C and D of the ferry. That area was where vehicle cargoes were stowed.
The salvage team has to remove residual fuel oil and execute loss prevention. To do this safely, the ministry and the salvage team are working to determine the Sewol’s centre of gravity.