Cost to deal with Sewol estimated at $611 million

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Cost to deal with Sewol estimated at $611 million

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The government will need to spend more than 620 billion won ($611 million) on recovery efforts related to the Sewol ferry disaster and compensation for the victims’ families and survivors of the country’s worst maritime disaster, according to a document submitted to the National Assembly by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

Of the 621.3 billion won that the government would have to spend on the Sewol sinking, as projected by the ministry, an estimated 227.7 billion won will be needed to cover compensation and relief costs for the victims’ families as well as survivors struggling from post-traumatic stress.

The expenses calculated were made based on demands by the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy on the special Sewol law, which has not been put to a parliamentary vote amid partisan wrangling over its terms.

Of the 621.3 billion won, 200 billion won, the largest portion of total costs, will be spent to lift the submerged Sewol out of the waters off Jindo Island in South Jeolla.

The projected amount for the lifting of the ferry is much higher than the 9.46 billion won spent on hoisting up the Cheonan warship in 2010. The government determined that the naval ship had been torpedoed by North Korea, in which 46 sailors were killed.

The North has denied its responsibility for the sinking, alleging it did not attack the vessel.

The calculated 227.7 billion won includes compensation for families who have lost their loved ones in the sinking.

Any family who has lost a relative will receive 100 million won while 20 million won will be paid to a family who has a survivor.

Those figures can be subject to change.

The ruling Saenuri Party and the NPAD are scheduled to hold talks next month to set the exact amount of compensation, though the political impasse over the special Sewol law could delay those negotiations.

BY KIM JUNG-HA, KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr ]




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