Kea Trader: an ecological catastrophe avoided in New Caledonia

The Kea Trader (credit: Armed Forces of New Caledonia, FANC)

You certainly remember how the container ship Kea Trader  ran aground the Durand reef, South-East of New Caledonia, almost a month ago. The spectacular photos of the huge ship full quill on the coral were seen all across the Pacific.

At the time, the local government and French armed forces mobilized a full anti-pollution task force. They feared a massive spill in this unique coral ecosystem. But it won’t be needed. The good news is that the operation to pump 750 tons of viscous fioul from the container ship’s tanks was successfully complete at the beginning of September.

Then another spectacular operation was carried out by an Australian helicopter (Sikorsky Skycrane). It started the evacuation of the 2194 containers carried by the Kea Trader.

The climate also affects this operation, bad weather forcing the helicopter to stop flying several days last week. It finally successfully transshipped 79 containers on the freighters Clipper New-York and Industrial Headlands during its first week of operation, and will carry on.

This transfer will lighter the Kea Trader, allowing for its raising in a few months.

Credit: Haut Commissariat NC

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