The French High Commissioner in New Caledonia, Thierry Lataste, has confirmed that fuel was spilled when the stranded containership Kea Trader broke up on a reef about 100 km off Mare earlier this year.
Globules of oil have been washing ashore along New Caledonia’s eastern coasts, prompting authorities to issue a marine pollution alert.
Lomar, the owner of the ship, has assumed responsibility and will pay for the clean-up effort now underway.
When the brand new ship ran onto Durand Reef in July, it was carrying 752 tonnes of fuel – most of which was pumped out in the hope of being able to refloat the ship. However, four tonnes are still in the wrecked ship and cannot be pumped out.
A fishing and swimming ban has been declared in affected areas of New Caledonia.
Latest images of the Kea Trader below show some movement of the two halves of the vessel, three weeks after it fractured vertically into two in storm-force seas. Aerial images issued by Lomar today show that whilst continuing to sit hard aground on the flat rock reef, the two sections of the vessel have moved slightly further apart.
“Salvors continue to monitor the situation, with tugs remaining on site along with specialist anti-pollution contractors. Work to remove remaining containers has been on hold given poor weather and safety issues on site,” Lomar said in a statement today.