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Lifting of Sunken Ship`s Stern to Begin 9 AM

Posted April. 15, 2010 06:15,   


The salvage of the stern of the sunken naval ship Cheonan will begin around 9 a.m. today. Most of the 44 missing crewmen are believed to be trapped inside the stern. The stern’s lifting and search for the missing crewmen are expected to take 11 hours, so the fate of the missing will be known around 8 p.m.

A military official said yesterday, “We finished preparations for the salvage by tying a third chain to the stern and the lifting will begin tomorrow,” adding, “Sea currents will temporarily stop at 8 a.m. tomorrow so salvage operations will begin around 9 a.m.”

Salvage operations will be carried out in four steps: lifting and draining water (which take three hours); loading and fixing the lifted stern onto a barge (two hours); conducting safety checks on the stern (two hours); and searching for missing crewmen and collecting bodies (four hours). The corpses will be transferred to the naval ship Dokdo, which is 1.8 kilometers away from the salvage site, with rubber boats and sent to a morgue at the 2nd Naval Fleet headquarters via helicopter.

To prevent the loss of the missing crewmen, equipment and ammunition in the salvage operation, a safety net will be installed around the hole of the stern’s upper part and the cut part and outside doors of the ship will be closed. Missing ammunition will be searched for by a mine detection ship. If possible, ammunition will be pulled out of water but if not, they will be detonated. The stern’s cut part will be opened on a limited basis to the public. The Navy said, “We will expose the part after loading the wreckage onto a barge, and it will be seen from 273 kilometers away.”

The families of the missing crewmen set up a funeral committee yesterday chaired by the father of Pvt. 1st Class Na Hyeon-min.

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