Grounded Kea Trader Beyond Repair, Heading for Recycling

The 2017-built containership Kea Trader, which ran hard aground on a reef off New Caledonia on July 12, will have to be recycled, the ship’s owner Lomar Shipping said.

The decision was made following the recent damage assessments that have shown that the 2,194-TEU ship cannot be repaired.

Namely, underwater inspections have identified extensive damage to the ship’s hull, rudder and propeller.

“Most double bottom tanks have been affected. There is water ingress in all five cargo holds, which is being controlled by portable pumps where possible to protect cargo,” an update from the company reads.

Furthermore, there is also evidence of further structural damage within the vessel and additional deterioration being caused whilst the ship remains on the rock reef during the rough swells.

This is being managed on an on-going basis by the Ardent recovery team, with assistance from the ship’s own crew, Lomar added.

“However, given the nature of the damage already known, that expected in currently inaccessible areas, and as a result of the vessel’s continuing deterioration, the company has regrettably had to agree with its H&M insurer that the vessel cannot be repaired and will need to be recycled,” Lomar Shipping informed.

Moving ahead, Ardent will continue to work to refloat to the Kea Trader and salvage its remaining cargo, while also protecting the marine environment, in agreement with Lomar, before disposing of the vessel.

Ardent is said to be progressing multiple plans for re-floating of the ill-fated vessel.

“We are committed to the safe removal of Kea Trader while also protecting the marine environment. We will continue to devote all necessary resources and work closely with Ardent, our P&I Club Skuld, and the local authorities in New Caledonia, to deliver on this plan,” a Lomar spokesman said.

More than two-thirds of 756 containers have now been removed from Kea Trader, as it continues to remain hard aground on a rock reef in the South Pacific. Some 532 units have been discharged and delivered ashore in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Poor winter weather conditions continue to hamper the salvage operation. A significant storm in the South Pacific saw the ship’s crew and the majority of salvage workers being taken off the vessel as a precaution for the second time since the grounding.

According to Lomar, the personnel is back on board, and containers and empty flat racks were moved from below deck using the ship’s own gear (cranes), in preparation for their removal this week.