S Korea's sunken Sewol ferry reaches port at last

The wreck of the Sewol ferry arrives at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
PHOTO: AFP

Mokpo, South Korea - The salvaged wreck of South Korea's Sewol ferry finally reached port Friday, nearly three years after setting out on a doomed voyage that killed more than 300 people.

A semi-submersible ship carrying the wreck docked alongside a pier at the southwestern harbour of Mokpo, an AFP photographer on the scene said.

Police walk in front of the wreck of the Sewol ferry after it arrived at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.Photo: AFP

The vessel was raised from the sea floor in one piece in a complex salvage operation before being transferred to the semi-submersible for the 105-kilometre (66 miles) journey to the port, where investigators will search it.

South Korea raises sunken Sewol ferry

  • The sunken ferry Sewol is prepared to be moved onto semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by News1 on March 24, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol is moved toward semi-submersible ship (not pictured) during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 24, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol is moved toward semi-submersible ship (not pictured) during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 24, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol is prepared to be moved onto semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by News1 on March 24, 2017.
  • Family members of victims onboard the sunken ferry Sewol cry as they look on during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 24, 2017.
  • A family member of a victim onboard the sunken ferry Sewol looks on as it is moved toward semi-submersible ship (not pictured) during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 24, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol is moved onto a semisubmersible ship (not pictured) during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 24, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 25, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by News1 on March 25, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by Yonhap on March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by Yonhap on March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • A family member of a victim onboard the sunken ferry Sewol looks on during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • Family members of victims onboard the sunken ferry Sewol react as they look on during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 26, 2017.
  • Workers work on the sunken ferry Sewol sitting on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by Yonhap on March 27, 2017.
  • Workers work on the sunken ferry Sewol sitting on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by Yonhap on March 27, 2017.
  • Workers work on the sunken ferry Sewol sitting on a semi-submersible ship during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and released by Yonhap on March 27, 2017.
  • A family member of a victim onboard the sunken ferry Sewol looks on during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 27, 2017.
  • People hold yellow balloons dedicated to the victims onboard the sunken ferry Sewol during an event at a port in Jindo, South Korea, March 28, 2017.
  • People release yellow balloons dedicated to the victims onboard the sunken ferry Sewol during an event at a port in Jindo, South Korea, March 28, 2017.
  • This handout photo provided and taken on March 28, 2017 by South Korean Maritime Ministry shows relatives of the missing from the Sewol ferry disaster looking at the damaged Sewol ferry during a memorial service on a ship off the coast of the southern South Korean island of Jindo.
  • People and relatives of victims of the Sewol ferry watch the ongoing salvage operation off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo on March 28, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship in preparation of transport during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 30, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship in preparation of transport during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 30, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship in preparation of transport during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 30, 2017.
  • The sunken ferry Sewol sits on a semi-submersible ship in preparation of transport during its salvage operations at the sea off Jindo, South Korea, March 30, 2017.
  • Police walk in front of the wreck of the Sewol ferry after it arrived at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
  • The wreck of the Sewol ferry arrives at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
  • Bystanders watch as the wreck of the Sewol ferry arrives at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
  • A general view shows the wreck of the Sewol ferry as it arrives mounted on a semi-submersible barge at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
  • Bystanders watch as the wreck of the Sewol ferry arrives at a port in Mokpo on March 31, 2017.
  • This handout photo provided and taken on March 28, 2017 by South Korean Maritime Ministry shows relatives of the missing from the Sewol ferry disaster throwing flowers during a memorial service on a ship near the damaged Sewol ferry off the coast of the southern South Korean island of Jindo.

Almost all of the dead were schoolchildren and nine of the victims have never been found, leaving the possibility that they could still be trapped inside.

The lifting ship was escorted by a smaller boat carrying relatives of the nine missing, as well as five patrol craft.

"This is only the beginning. I always see my daughter in dreams," said Park Eun-Mi, whose daughter Huh Da-Yun has not been found.

"We must find all the nine missing people and return them to the bosom of their families", she told journalists.

Underwater fences have been installed surrounding the area where the Sewol sank and divers will also search the waters and seabed there.

The salvage came as the third anniversary approached of one of the country's worst-ever maritime disasters, which dealt a crushing blow to now-ousted president Park Geun-Hye.

Investigations concluded the disaster was the result of factors including an illegal redesign, an overloaded cargo bay and inexperienced crew.

The ‘female Rasputin’ at centre of S Korean President Park Geun-Hye political scandal

  • South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is facing calls to resign over allegations she allowed a close personal friend to meddle in state affairs.
  • People watch a television news report showing South Korean President Park Geun-Hye making a public apology, at a railway station in Seoul on October 25, 2016.
  • South Korean President Park Geun-hye bows after releasing a statement of apology to the public during a news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2016.
  • South Korea’s presidential office said on Saturday it was cooperating with prosecutors’investigation into key aides to President Park Geun-hye over allegations an old friend of hers enjoyed inappropriate influence over her.
  • Prosecutors’ request for presidential Blue House documents came ahead of an evening protest expected to draw thousands in central Seoul calling for Park’s resignation amid a scandal that has cast her presidency into crisis.
  • A woman attends a protest denouncing President Park Geun-hye over a recent influence-peddling scandal in central Seoul
  • Protestors hang a caricature showing South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) and her confidante Choi Soon-Sil (C), on a board during a rally denouncing a scandal over President Park's aide in Seoul on October 27, 2016.
  • South Korean prosecutors on October 27 set up a high-powered "task-force" to probe a widening scandal involving alleged influence-peddling by a close confidante of President Park Geun-Hye. Choi Soon-Sil, an enigmatic woman with no government position, was already part of an investigation into allegations that she used her relationship with the president to strong-arm conglomerates into multi-million dollar donations to two non-profit foundations.
  • Park’s office said late on Friday she had ordered her senior secretaries to tender their resignations, and she will reshuffle the office in the near future. Her chief of staff separately offered to resign earlier, the office said.
  • The deepening crisis over allegations that Park’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, enjoyed inappropriate influence over her has sent her public support to an all-time low, with more than 40 percent in an opinion poll saying Park should resign or be impeached.

Read also: S Korea salvage operators raise Sewol ferry
Bad weather again delays lifting of S Korean ferry
S.Korea media slam govt over ferry 'remains'
2014 Sewol ferry tragedy probed as S Korea impeachment hearing opens
South Korea's presidential office dismisses rumours about Park's alleged absence during 2014 ferry disaster

Purchase this article for republication.

SERVICES