South Korea’s president has pledged to raise the wreckage of the Sewol ferry that sank last year killing 304 people.
President Park Guen-hye made the announcement during a memorial ceremony at the port of Jindo.
“I think now is the time for us to be prepared for the ship salvage. We’ll make all necessary procedures promptly so that the ship can be raised as soon as possible,” she told reporters and victims’ families who had gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the disaster.
All but nine bodies have been recovered but relatives have campaigned to raise the ship so that more remains can be retrieved.
Most of the victims were teenagers who were on a school trip to the holiday island of Jeju. The ship’s captain and other crew members are serving long prison terms for failing to protect their passengers.
Investigators say the ferry was overloaded when it sank and had undergone an illegal redesign that made it unstable.
Memorial ceremonies were held in 300 locations across the country. Mourners prevented the country’s prime minister from entering one memorial amid ongoing anger at the government.