Work to extract 750 tonnes of heavy fuel oil from the grounded container ship m/v Kea Trader is now complete and efforts are underway to remove containers from the vessel.
The process of removing containers could take several months to complete, subject to suitable conditions and operations on site, according to the ship’s owner Lomar Shipping.
“A break in winter weather conditions last weekend allowed salvors to begin trials to remove containers using the ship’s own gear (cranes),” the company said.
Six of the vessel’s 756 containers, of which 553 were being carried empty for onward shipments, were successfully transferred onto a barge that managed to come alongside.
In an effort to re-floating the 25,293 dwt boxship, the salvors will continue removing containers on board, concentrating initially on those units that are most accessible and those containing any hazardous goods. This will be undertaken using the combination of a Sikorsky Skycrane heavy lift helicopter, a crane barge that is currently en route from Singapore and the vessel’s own gear.
“Good progress has been made over the last week with all of the heavy fuel oil now having been extracted from the vessel. The focus has now turned to the removal of the containers on board, however the Kea Trader is in a remote part of the Pacific, which has made and will continue to make this procedure lengthy and complex in nature,” a Lomar spokesman said.
Thirty days after its grounding on July 12, the Kea Trader remains in a stable position on the Durand Reefs in the Pacific Ocean.
With a 2,194 TEU capacity, the container ship was launched in January 2017 at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China. The ship had been sailing from Papeete, in French Polynesia, to Nourmea, the capital of New Caledonia, when it ran into trouble.