The South Korean government said Sunday it began moving the salvaged Sewol ferry onto land early in the morning after completing the final test for the transfer operation.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the work started at 9:00 a.m., involving some 600 module transporters which will move the ill-fated vessel from a semisubmersible transport ship to a dry dock.
The ferry sank off the country's southwestern coast near Jindo Island in April 16, 2014, leaving 304 people dead. Nine victims have yet to be recovered.
The wreck was raised from the seabed late last month and moved on a semisubmersible ship to a port in Mokpo on March 31. Due to water and mud, the 6,800-ton ferry is estimated to weigh around 16,000 tons at present.
The government said it will take at least four hours before the ferry is fully moved from the semisubmersible ship, with the whole loading process to safely anchor the ship on land likely to end by early Monday morning. Then inspectors will start searching for any remains of the nine victims still unaccounted for. (Yonhap)