Salvage work continues on damaged container ship Kea Trader six months after it struck a reef on a southern Pacific island. Salvors, managed by Ardent Global, have resumed removing cargo and internal elements of the broken ship after bad weather hampered their efforts.
As reported by Tug Technology & Business, Kea Trader, which was 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,
The 2,194 TEU 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, although the aft section has been rolling and fore section has been rotated.
Shipowner, Lomar Shipping, said Ardent Global was able to resume salvage work during the last week of December 2017 and continued this month with helicopters removing segments of containers and solid material.
In a statement on 12 January, Lomar said “Only 99 container units now remain on board, of which 86 are empty, with nearly 4,800 tonnes of container load having already removed.” Removal work continues with salvors cutting containers into sections and removing them by helicopter on to nearby barges.
“Ardent recovery teams are making progress on several fronts,” said Lomar. Around 24 salvors and anti-pollution response experts remained on site during the last week of December and into January to recover liquid slops and solid materials from on board Kea Trader.
They have cleaned fuel tanks, removing heavy fuel oil, including 40 m3 of unpumpable material removed by helicopter. Around 150 m3 of solid materials from within the accommodation and office areas – including electronic equipment, mattresses, furniture and ceiling tiles – has also been airlifted off the vessel in the past eight weeks.
“Our recovery team continues to work to safely retrieve materials from the vessel while also protecting the marine environment,” Lomar explained. “There is still a considerable amount of work to do, as and when weather conditions allow.”
A fleet of vessels is supporting the salvage of Kea Trader. These include two main offshore bases for accommodation and storing equipment, such as anti-pollution collection booms. There are two further storage barges and two shallow draft tugs with further pollution collection arms, plus three rigid hull inflatable boats for transferring personnel, equipment and materials around the site.
Kea Trader was delivered in January 2017 at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China. The 25,293 DWT vessel is registered in Valletta, Malta.