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The full damage extent of the 2017-built containership m/v Kea Trader that got grounded on a reef off New Caledonia two weeks ago is still unknown, according to the ship’s owner Lomar Shipping.

The damage extent will only become clearer after the ship is re-floated, however, the vessel remains in a stable position on a flat rock reef as confirmed by initial underwater inspections, Lomar informed.

The company further added that the condition of Kea Trader is being assessed on an on-going basis – by teams on board, by divers and remotely via modelling produced by specialist naval architects.

Preparations are gearing up for the removal of fuel and lubricating oil from the grounded ship before activities can be undertaken to re-float the vessel.

“Meticulous oil spill prevention measures and equipment are now on site and form part of a detailed plan to remove all hydrocarbons from the vessel. This may take several days to complete and will commence this coming week, subject to favorable sea conditions,” Lomar said in an update.

Ardent is leading the salvage operation with support from naval architects, marine environment and other salvage expertise.

Some 35 specialist personnel from various companies are now based on site or on the mainland, in addition to the vessel’s crew of 18 people. The on-site resource also includes four tugs, three barges and one further specialist environmental response vessel. An additional ‘super tug’ (an Anchor Handling Vessel) is also en route from Singapore, along with a further tug from Australia and an accommodation vessel from New Zealand, Lomar added.

According to a company spokesman, activities on preparation for refloating of the vessel have taken time “given the distance involved to get adequate resources in place to safely re-float the vessel and protect the local marine environment.”

Kea Trader, a capacity 2,194-TEU containership, was launched in January 2017 at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China. The 25,293mt deadweight vessel is registered in Valletta, Malta.

The ship had been sailing from Papeete, in French Polynesia, to Nourmea, the capital of New Caledonia, loaded with 750 container units.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com                       Image Courtesy: Lomar Shipping