Further to the earlier report
on the removal operation, Lomar Shipping Limited has announced that container removal work is being hampered by bad weather and it is bringing in a heavy lift helicopter and crane barge to help progress the work.
“A large storm in the South Pacific resulted in crew and the majority of salvage workers being taken off of the KEA TRADER as a safety precaution at the start of the week. A skeleton salvage team remained on board and reported that the vessel continued to be relatively stable on a flat rock area of the Durand Reefs,” Lomar reported.
So far containers can only be removed during breaks in the weather. A total of 55 of the 756 containers on board the vessel have been offloaded using the vessel's own cranes to transfer them to barges.
Lomar is now bringing in extra resources to help with the removal effort. “Operations to remove further containers have stepped up a gear this week with the arrival of a specialist Sikorsky Skycrane heavy lift helicopter, which arrived by ship in Noumea and began operations on site today (Thursday).
“A crane barge is currently being towed from Singapore to the site. It will soon add further on-site lifting resources at Durand Reefs, as heavy winter swells hopefully begin to give way to lighter sea conditions,” Lomar noted. With the arrival of the helicopter removal operations will be less dependent on the weather, and Lomar is optimistic the daily removal rate will increase.
When and how salvage work to remove the vessel will proceed is not yet clear. “Damage to the vessel as a result of the grounding is under continuous assessment and will only become totally clear once she has been re-floated, but is expected to be considerable,” Lomar concluded.