Gov’t to spend $4 million on search for lost ship

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Gov’t to spend $4 million on search for lost ship

Korea will conduct a deep-sea search for a missing cargo ship starting next month, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Friday after signing a contract with a foreign seabed exploration company.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it signed a contract worth 4.84 billion won ($4.33 million) with Ocean Infinity through the Public Procurement Service to conduct an intensive underwater search for the Stella Daisy cargo ship, which went missing last year in the South Atlantic.

This will be the first time the country conducts a deep-sea exploration for a missing ship.

The Stella Daisy, which carried iron ore and had 24 crew members on board - including eight South Koreans - went missing after sending a distress call saying the ship was sinking on March 31, 2017. Two Filipino crew members were later found alive.

The ministry said the search will begin in late January and continue for 50 days.

It will try to locate undiscovered life rafts and the ship’s voyage data recorder using Ocean Infinity’s equipment, including unmanned submarines.

The ministry said Ocean Infinity is a company that has expertise in deep-sea exploration, having participated in various search and salvage projects for missing ships and air crafts.

The families of missing crew members have been urging the authorities to conduct deep-sea operations to find the cause of the sinking and possible clues as to the missing seafarers fates.

The South Korean government approved a budget for a deep-sea search for the ship in August and then opened bidding to find a company that could carry out the project.

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