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Tug Technology & Business

Container ship strikes Pacific reef

Thu 13 Jul 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

Container ship strikes Pacific reef

Salvors from Ardent Salvage Oceania are on the scene to refloat a new Lomar Shipping container ship that crashed into a reef in the Pacific region. Recently delivered 2,194 teu boxship Kea Trader grounded on the Durand Reef, 50 miles southeast of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.

The Malta-flagged ship was delivered to the owner by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, China, in January this year. The 25,293 dwt ship was en route from Papeete in Tahiti to Noumea when it ran hard aground into the reef, off the island of Maré in the Loyalty Islands.

Lomar Shipping told Riviera Maritime Media that there were no injuries or reports of any oil pollution from Kea Trader. A spokesman said the vessel was stable and a salvage team was already on site providing support.

He said Lomar had activated its emergency response centre and was co-ordinating with all the relevant authorities and organisations. The ship operator was working with technical experts to discuss when and how the vessel should be refloated. As soon as news of the grounding reached officials, an assessment and response team was transferred to Kea Trader by a Puma helicopter of the Armed Forces of New Caledonia.

Investigations are underway to determine why and how a container ship that is less than a year old could have struck the reef. There are reminders of the Rena container ship disaster that occurred in New Zealand in 2011 and became one of the world’s most costly salvage projects.

In May this year, a court in New Zealand determined that the Rena wreck would remain unsalvaged on a reef to protect further damage to the environment.

Tug provision in that part of the Pacific is designed for local port requirements, so not for emergency salvage response. There is a drive to upgrade tugs in the region with more bollard pull and emergency response equipment. This month, Tug Technology & Business reported that Damen Shipyard gained a contract to deliver a new harbour tug for Tahiti ports.

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