Tropical cyclones have caused further material to spill from the stranded KEA TRADER and delayed its removal from a reef near New Caledonia.
Lomar Shipping has suffered a set back in its efforts to have the Kea Trader removed from the Durand Reef. The 2,194 TEU vessel was less than a year old when she ran aground on July 12th, 2017 off the coast of New Caledonia, loaded with 782 containers and flat-racks,.
Earlier this month the vessel owner Lomar Shipping Limited awarded a contract to the Shanghai Salvage Company (SSC) to safely remove the stricken ship. In the meantime the vessel has been hit with heavy seas from two cyclones and suffered further damage.
“Initial aerial inspections found the wreck had shifted – with the two hull sections (that had fractured into two last November) colliding to cause damage to the forward section. Hold 3 disintegrated in the extreme sea conditions that were whipped up by violent winds. This hold had been cleaned although four stored empty containers were lost. Hold 2 was also breached, with an estimated 25 empty containers and some residual debris lost to the elements.
“The cyclones also affected the aft section. Two hatch covers and some 17-metres of vertical hull sides were detached from a cargo hold previously cleared of containers and other materials. These structures were located adjacent to the vessel on the floor of the rock reef,” Lomar Shipping said in a statement.
Aerial surveillance as soon as conditions permitted spotted one container floating near the site, leaving some 83 containers and flatracks still onboard. Some “limited oil deposits and soiled materials from inaccessible areas of the vessel” also floated free.
Tar balls and other debris were subsequently collected from beaches on the island of Mare, and preparations are being made to clean up any other affected areas. “Fully trained contractors – with access to equipment made available on all the Loyalty Islands, the mainland of New Caledonia and Ile Des Pins – have been alerted and will respond and collect any materials that come ashore. This shoreline response operation will continue for as long as necessary,” Lomar stated.