SEOUL, March 20 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's oceans ministry said Monday that an attempt would be made later this week to lift the sunken passenger ferry Sewol, which lays in waters off southeast South Korea for almost three years.
The ill-fated vessel with 476 passengers on board capsized and sank off the Jindo Island, South Jeolla province, on April 16, 2014.
The country's worst maritime disaster claimed the lives of 304 people, mostly high school students on a school trip. Nine bodies remain unaccounted for.
The vice minister of the oceans and fisheries told reporters that the lifting attempt would be made on March 22 if weather conditions allow.
The test salvaging operation would be conducted to raise the ship, which has lain in the sea bed on its left side, 1-2 meters off from the bedrock in a bid to check possible technical problems.
If no problem is found, the wreckage would be fully lifted. The ferry lies about 40 meters underneath the surface of the water.
Two jack-up barges would bring the ship to the surface and then two semi-submersible vessels would carry it to a port in Mokpo, about 90 km away from the Jindo Island.
The ministry originally attempted to salvage the vessel Sunday, but it was not done as lifting wires were twisted.