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S. Korea opens int'l bidding for recovery of sunken ferry

South Korea on Wednesday launched the process to select a company to salvage a ferry that sank last year, killing over 300 people, with the bidding open to all local and foreign companies.

The move came a week after the country's central disaster control center decided to physically recover the 6,800-ton passenger ferry, the Sewol.

The ship sank on April 16, 2014 while en route to the country's southern resort island of Jeju, killing 304 people, mostly high school students on a school excursion.

The decision to salvage the ship came mostly on demands from families of those killed in the tragic accident to identify the exact cause of the sinking and also to find the bodies of nine people still missing.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the bidding process will likely last up to three months, adding that it plans to complete the recovery by October next year.

The ministry earlier said the actual work to recover the ship will likely begin in October this year, at the earliest, considering the time also needed to plan and design a safe way to retrieve the ship.

The work is expected to cost between 100 billion won ($93 million) and 250 billion won, it has said. (Yonhap)

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