The South Korean government has been in talks with a local trade association to recover around KRW100 billion (US$88.5 million) in insurance money to defray costs it had incurred in relation to the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry.
The ill-fated vessel capsized in waters near Jindo Island, some 472 km southwest of Seoul, on16 April 2014. Billed as the country's worst maritime disaster, 304 people, most of whom were high school students on a school trip, were killed, with nine still missing.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries earlier estimated that it cost a total of KRW550 billion to cover the search and rescue operations and to salvage the ferry, reported Yonhap News Agency.
Seoul reportedly spent more than KRW112 billion on the initial rescue operations at the time of the sinking, and KRW110 billion was spent on compensation to victims or their families. Raising the Sewol from the sea costs an additional KRW120 billion.
Chonghaejin Marine, the Sewol's operator, had an insurance policy worth KRW110 billion from the Korea Shipping Association (KSA).
The ministry started negotiations to lodge insurance claims last year, while filing a lawsuit against the association, according to a government official.
"The ministry has been in talks with the KSA to receive the insurance money," he said. "It is making efforts to wrap up the negotiations by the end of June."
The Sewol has been raised from the sea and placed into a dry dock at the port of Mokpo.