Photo journalist, Peter Marshall, reports the 16th ‘Stay Put’ Sewol silent protest in London
Photos from 16th ‘Stay Put’ Sewol silent protest in London on 15 August 2015.
This month, we were joined by a family member of one of student victims. He was heartened by the number of non-Koreans who knew about the disaster and many willingly sign the petition demanding the truth.
4 August 2015
The South Korean government has signed a deal with a Chinese consortium to raise the wreckage of the Sewol ferry.
The ferry sank in April 2014, killing 304 people – most of them children.
The remains of nine people are yet to be recovered and their families campaigned for the ship to be raised.
The captain and several crew members have been given jail terms for failing to protect passengers, as was the captain of a coast guard vessel involved in the botched rescue effort.
The passengers included 325 pupils aged between 16 and 17 from who were on a school trip to the holiday island of Jeju when the ferry sank.
The wreckage will be salvaged by a consortium led by Shanghai Salvage. It will be raised by next July at a cost of $73m (£47m).
To recover any bodies remaining within the ship, engineers will enclose the wreck in two sets of netting so that the complete contents will rise with the vessel, the BBC’s Evans in Seoul reports.
It will be the grisliest of tasks but also one of much political sensitivity, he adds.
In April South Korean President Park Guen-hye promised the vessel would be raised at the earliest opportunity amid intense public criticism of the government.
Investigators have said the ferry sank after an inexperienced crew member made too fast a turn. The combination of an illegal redesign and overload meant the ship was unstable.
The owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co, Yoo Byung-eun, disappeared after the disaster and was eventually found dead.
The ferry sank in waters between 37 and 43 metres (121 and 141 feet) deep.
While salvage operations have been undertaken in deeper seas, the site of the Sewol is a channel subject to notoriously dangerous currents and heavy surface winds.
Two divers died searching for bodies inside the vessel last year.
The South Korean Government has awarded a KRW85.1bn ($73m) contract to China’s state-run Shanghai Salvage-led consortium to raise the Sewol ferry that sank off the country’s southern coast last year.
The 146m-long ferry capsized on 16 April 2014, as it took a journey from Incheon in the north-west to the southern island of Jeju, killing more than 300 people.
Last month, Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries selected the consortium to raise the 6,825t ferry.
Korean Ministry official Yeon Yeong-jin was quoted by Associate Press as saying: “Since the typhoon season usually comes around late July or August, we think it would be best to deploy all equipment and personnel before that period to give ourselves the best shot.”
Shanghai Salvage was involved in the lifting of the Eastern Star’s cruise ship that capsized in China’s Yangtze River in June.
The Sewol ferry currently lies 40m on the sea bed, preliminary research at the area is expected to start this month prior to the recovery works.
The salvage operation is expected to be completed by July next year.
Sewol was carrying 477 people at the time of the incident, including 338 students and teachers from the Danwon High School in Ansan, Seoul.
Later, a Korean court sentenced the captain of Sewol, Lee Joon-seok, to 36 years in prison after a court found him guilty of negligence.