Six months after running aground on a hard rock reef in the south Pacific, work to remove the 2017-built container ship Kea Trader continues, the ship’s owner Lomar Shipping said.

The 2,194-TEU capacity vessel ran aground on July 12 on the flat rock Durand Reef while sailing from Papeete in French Polynesia, to Noumea in New Caledonia. It was loaded with 756 containers and a further 26 flat-racks.

After the 25,300 dwt containership fractured vertically in cargo hold four mid-November, each of its sections has remained in situ, with the forward-half steady but having now rotated, while the aft has rolled in heavy seas but has generally maintained its original position.

Only 99 container units now remain on board, of which 86 are empty, with nearly 4,800 mt of container load having already removed.

Favourable weather conditions in late December enabled salvage company Ardent to discharge eight empty containers from inside of the cargo holds, while 24 salvors and anti-pollution response experts remained on site recovering liquid slops and solid materials from on-board.

For the past two months, work has focused on cleaning fuel tanks. Small quantities remain within parts of the vessel that are currently inaccessible and will continue to be removed as work progresses, the ship owner said.

Image Courtesy: Lomar Shipping

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