Foreign experts from Brookes Bell, a Britain-based international marine consultancy and marine surveying firm, have been invited for an investigation into the exact cause of the sinking of a South Korean ferry that cost more than 300 lives three years ago.
Brookes Bell experts are examining the exterior of the Sewol ferry which was raised from the seabed and transported to the southwestern port of Mokpo for the search of nine victims who were still listed as missing, officials said.
The overloaded Sewol was carrying 476 people, including 325 students from a high school in Ansan, when it sank off the southwestern island of Jindo on April 16, 2014. Only 75 students survived. A total of 295 bodies were recovered.
The disaster -- blamed on the ship's illegal redesign and overloading left unchecked by regulators -- prompted calls to overhaul the nation's lax safety standards and tackle deep-rooted corruption. Government officials and coastguard authorities were criticized for failing to take quick steps.
Initially, South Korea's coast guard, experts and the crew agreed that a sudden turn caused the ship to list and eventually become unmanageable. The lack of restoring force and illegal renovations to add extra passenger cabins were cited as secondary causes while some experts advocated an explosion.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org