Lomar Shipping, owner of the Kea Trader wreck in the southern Pacific, has contracted Shanghai Salvage Co (SSC) to remove the vessel from a rocky reef near New Caledonia in the south Pacific.
Kea Trader, new out of the shipyard in January 2017, struck the Durand Reef on 12 July 2017, while sailing from Papeete in French Polynesia, to Noumea in New Caledonia. This 2,194 TEU capacity ship split in two on 12 November. Despite continued pounding by stormy seas and harsh weather, the two hull segments have remained in situ on the reef and need removal.
Lomar chose SSC following a comprehensive four-month competitive tender process. The shipowner has formulated a plan to remove the two sections of the vessel intact from the reef to protect the marine environment. This would require a heavy-lift unit, tugs and use of local suppliers within the New Caledonia region, where suitable.
Its detailed methodology for the recovery operation was approved by the authorities in February, enabling the contract to be signed.
Ardent Global has been in charge of salvaging containers and fuel from Kea Trader since it became lodged on the rocky reef. By mid-February it had removed heavy fuel oil and other pollutants and extracted 26 flat-racks and 652 of the 756 containers originally on board.
Ardent will continue working in a caretaker capacity until SSC has all its resources on site, which is expected to be within 30 days, and an exchange of responsibilities can be achieved.
This will ensure the safeguards to the environment currently in place are maintained during the transition and as the new phase begins.
Adverse weather, including cyclones and heavy storms hampered salvage operations from the start. Waves of up to 7 m have battered the wreck, ripping it in two and listing the aft and bow sections.
A large fleet of support vessels, including tugs, remained on site to support recovery and anti-pollution operations. This fleet included two main offshore bases equipped with offshore anti-pollution collection booms, two storage barges and two shallow draft tugs with further pollution collection arms.
Kea Trader was delivered in January 2017 at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China. The 25,293 dwt vessel is registered in Valletta, Malta.