More Work Ahead for Kea Trader Salvage
The grounded container feeder Kea Trader remains stuck on Durand Reef off New Caledonia, three months after she went aground. Local media sources estimate the salvage costs to date at $10 million, potentially exceeding her scrap value if she is sold for demolition as planned. Thierry Lataste, High Commissioner of the Republic of New Caledonia, said in a statement last week that the Trader must be removed, regardless of her final destination.
The Trader shortly after her grounding (Image courtesy FANC)
On October 10, with temporary repairs to the Kea Trader's holds proceeding well, salvors with Ardent Global took advantage of a weather window to try for a refloat attempt. The team brought in an anti-pollution escort to stand by during the refloat, including two tugs and one New Caledonian military vessel with booms. The firm deployed the ocean tugs Posh Commander and Lanpan 34 to pull the Trader off the reef, but the effort was not successful. The vessel rotated 50 degrees to starboard, but more work will be needed to increase her buoyancy before she can be removed. No significant pollution was detected during this evolution.
Ardent Global said in a social media update that while they have been working hard, there is still "plenty to be done." Ardent has mitigated the threat of pollution from the vessel and lightered her cargo using a Sikorsky heavy lift helicopter, preparing the way for the wreck's ultimate removal.
Sikorsky heavy lift helicopter brought in for the salvage effort (Ardent)
Whales alongside the wreck (Ardent)