The wreck of the South Korean ferry that sunk in 2014, killing 304 people, was transported to port on Friday after weather conditions improved.
Workers completed the massive operation to lift the corroding 6,800-ton Sewol from the seabed late last week.
They loaded the ferry on a heavy lift transport vessel, emptied the wreckage of water and fuel and removed buoyancy equipment to enable it to be carried to Mokpo port.
Bringing the Sewol back to land would be a step toward finding closure to one of the country's deadliest disasters.
Once the ferry reaches Mokpo, government officials say it will take about a month for the ship to be cleaned and evaluated for safety.
Investigators will then enter the wreckage and begin a three-month search for the remains of nine missing victims and for clues further illuminating the cause of the sinking, which has been blamed on overloaded cargo, improper storage and other negligence.