South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries posted a tender notice on 22 May for selecting a salvage company to hoist the capsized ferry Sewol.
The ministry said it was looking to work with a company equipped with the best available technology, and its experts would scrutinise applicants’ ability to salvage Sewol intact, ensure safe handling of any residual fuel, and to ensure accident countermeasures.
The state will be a party to the salvage contract, although international contract standards will be applied where South Korean terms are not applicable.
The terms of the contract will be confirmed through negotiations. Technological expertise will account for 80% of the evaluation, while costs would form the remaining 20% of the prerequisites.
To encourage participation of qualified local salvage companies, consortiums comprising local and multi-national salvage companies will be given extra points. This is to minimise the outflow of national capital.
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The ministry concluded that in South Korea, 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. Salvage work is expected to start in September. it added.
Sewol capsized during a routine Incheon-Jeju trip on 16 April 2014, leaving 295 of 476 passengers and crew dead, while nine are still listed as missing. The ferry remains submerged in the Maenggol Channel in the Yellow Sea, an area notorious for swift and unpredictable currents.