A new independent bathymetric survey of the wreck of the container ship Kea Trader, 24,720gt, on a reef in New Caledonia, has identified the location of debris on the site, according to her owners Lomar Shipping, of London.
The Kea Trader ran aground on July 12 last year on the Durand Reefs, some 60 south-east of the island of Mare while on passage from Papeete, in French Polynesia, to Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, and was carrying 756 containers. The accident happened six months after she was delivered by the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China.
On Nov 12, the wreck broke into two sections following months of pounding in sometimes storm-force seas. This latest survey has enabled the salvors, the Shanghai Salvage Co, to start recovering the debris that was detached from the ship during the storms.
Shallow-draft vessels have been moving around the reef enabling the divers to collect the metal fragments. Air bags are being used to remove the larger pieces of the hull structure off the bed of the reef and on to the salvage company’s support and command platform Ju Li.
Lomar Shipping said that this work will continue and escalate over the coming months with the return of more favourable weather.