02:50 GMT25 November 2020
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    Two Chinese ships have arrived at the sinking site of the Sewol ferry to prepare for salvaging the ill-fated vessel, South Korean media reported, citing local officials.

    There are some 150 technicians and crewmen aboard the Dali crane ship and the Hiahe tugboat which will survey the area to collect information needed to plan the recovery.

    During that time, the staff will also try to eliminate any remaining oil and install a safety net around the ferry to prevent missing bodies from drifting away, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

    The 6,825-ton Sewol sank off South Korea's southwest coast on April 16, 2014, killing more than 300 passengers, mostly high school students on a school trip. Nine passengers are still  unaccounted for.

    Early this month, South Korea signed an 85.1 billion-won (US$72.5 million) contract with a Chinese consortium for the recovery of the South Korean ferry.

    Earlier reports said that the Sewol’s captain had been given an increased sentence of life in prison by an appellate court which convicted him of homicide.

    A district court in November sentenced Lee Joon-seok to 36 years in prison for negligence and abandoning passengers in need.


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