4th May 2017
TMC continued with their on-going assistance to MOF (Korean Ministry of Oceans & Fisheries) in their recovery of the hull of SEWOL in one piece, and on 23 March 2017 in good weather conditions and near neap tidal strengths, the contractors SSC (Shanghai Salvage) successfully completed the side-lift of SEWOL to the surface using 2 x lift barges fitted out with 66 x 350t strand-jack units attached to 33 x underside beams. In a delicate operation which took over 27 hours to complete the ascent to the surface went smoothly.
Once on the surface at the designed 60% emerged position (13.5m above water), drainage of the hull took place in order to reduce weight. The following day on the 24th of March, with the good weather continuing, the convoy of barges + SEWOL were gently towed by a flotilla of 7 x tugs and floated over the 72,000t semi-sub vessel WHITE MARLIN some 3 miles away. Once in position, WHITE MARLIN de-ballasted to the design position and gradually took the weight of SEWOL. By 2353hrs on the 24th of March, the full weight of SEWOL was on the semi-sub vessel. When fully de-ballasted the strand-jack wires were dis-connected and the barges departed.
Several days were spent draining the water and mud from the hull of SEWOL, in total several thousands of tonnes were drained. On 31st March 2017 arrangements were completed in Mokpo New Port and SEWOL, loaded on the deck of WHITE MARLIN, made her way through the islands of South-west Korea to her allocated berth. SEWOL arrived alongside where the Families of the deceased were waiting to greet the vessel.
On the 9th of April, 600 axles of trailers for load-in of SEWOL to the quayside at Mokpo new port were arranged and the hull successfully delivered on to the quayside, thus completing the delivery of the hull in a single piece, as required by the Korean authorities.