SEOUL, July 15 (Korea Bizwire) — A consortium led by a Chinese salvage company has been chosen as the preferred bidder for a multimillion dollar project to recover a sunken South Korean ferry, the South Korean government said Wednesday.
Last month, 27 firms in seven consortia submitted bids to salvage the ferry Sewol that sank off the country’s southwest coast in April last year, claiming more than 300 lives.
According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the consortium led by China’s state-run Shanghai Salvage was picked as the preferred bidder for the operation.
The next was the consortium led by China Yantai Salvage, another state-run Chinese company, followed by another consortium comprised of worldwide salvage firm Titan Salvage and Dutch maritime operations company Svitzer, the ministry said.
Should negotiations with the Shanghai Salvage-led consortium fall through, the government will move on to the next consortium on the list until a final agreement is reached.
The focus will be made on technological prowess in the maritime salvage project, rather than on price, as South Korea seeks to retrieve the sunken ship without further damage in order to prevent the loss of any bodies believed to remain inside.
The ship sank on April 16 last year while en route to the country’s southern resort island of Jeju, killing 304 people, mostly high school students on a field trip.