Boxship Kea Trader, which is still stuck on the Durand Reef off New Caledonia, is being affected by a constant, heavy movement of the sea, even in good weather, the ship’s owner Lomar Shipping said.
The company’s spokesman added that rough seas are causing further damage and frustrating the re-floating operations on site.
A rare ideal weather window and high tide allowed recovery teams to attempt an accelerated re-floating operation in early October. This failed to dislodge the vessel and merely pivoted it by 60 degrees, with the rudder remaining firm in the same position.
Four-fifths of the hull are sitting on the hard rock reef, where the ship ran aground almost four months ago, on July 12.
“Our recovery team is using every favourable weather window to unload containers to improve buoyancy, but this continues to be a long, slow and painstaking process because of the rough swells,” the spokesperson said.
Work is progressing to remove remaining containers from below deck, with only 153 of the original 756 units now remaining board. Further units have been discharged onto adjacent barges in the past three weeks, although poor weather and heavy swells continue to hamper this activity. Once discharged, many of these containers will require specialist treatment when on land.
Over the coming weeks, salvage company Ardent will continue with the removal of remaining containers and progress the present re-floating plan.
The 2,194-TEU capacity Kea Trader was delivered in January 2017 at the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China. The ship was on its way from Papeete, in French Polynesia, to Noumea in New Caledonia when it ran aground on the reef.
Image Courtesy: Ardent Global