Lomar salvage progresses off New Caledonia

Preparations are progressing to commence the removal of fuel and lubricating oil from the containership Kea Trader, almost two weeks after its grounding on Durand Reef, in the Pacific Ocean.

Oil spill prevention measures and equipment are now on site.

The condition of Kea Trader is being assessed on an on-going basis – by teams on board, by divers and remotely via modelling produced by specialist naval architects.

“Whilst the full extent of damage is still unknown, and will only likely become clearer after she is re-floated, the vessel remains in a stable position on a flat rock reef as confirmed by initial underwater inspections,” the ship’s owner, Lomar Shipping stated in an update today.

Salvage firm Ardent is leading the salvage operation.

A spokesman said: “We have amassed a large team of specialist resources to support this salvage operation. This has taken time, given the distance involved to get adequate resources in place to safely re-float the vessel and protect the local marine environment. We continue to receive tremendous support from the authorities in New Caledonia and are moving forward with this salvage operation with every day that passes.”

Kea Trader, a 2,194 teu container ship, was launched in January this year. It had been sailing from Papeete, in French Polynesia, to Nourmea, the capital of New Caledonia, loaded with 750 containers when it hit the reef.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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