In a statement released late morning on Monday, the hawker clarified the circumstances in which the hull of Kea Trader broke.
The weather conditions “particularly difficult” during this weekend have contributed to this state of affairs. “The continuous impact of wave movements has greatly weakened the hull, which began to crack. The rescue company Ardent then asked the MRCC for the emergency evacuation of the 9 people still on board. A Bell helicopter chartered by Ardent, already in the area, was able to recover the 9 people concerned, who were transported without difficulty to the Magenta airport.
A Puma helicopter from FANC was also ready to intervene, if needed. The Posh Commander and Pacific Titan tugs are present around the Durand reef, and monitor the situation. They are equipped with antipollution means Briggs company and stand ready to intervene.
The degradation of the hull has resulted in “pollution traces”, “despite the pumping and disposal of heavy fuel oil aboard the Kea Trader” because “residual quantities of hydrocarbons remained on board” .
It was also noted “the presence of debris and two containers dropped into the water following the ship’s movements. 102 containers also remain in the holds.
The owner emphasizes that he remains determined to withdraw the Kea Trader, the statement said.
A comprehensive assessment of the condition of the building is underway and should result in the development of a new reef removal plan. The priorities for safeguarding human life and preserving the environment remain unchanged.
A flight of a Gardian maritime patrol aircraft takes place this morning in order to note the evolutions on the zone and the traces of a possible pollution. The ORSEC plan, which has been mobilizing state and government services since July 12 to monitor the situation, is maintained.
According to our information, the container ship that has been stranded since 12 July on the Durand Reef, 50 nautical miles southeast of Maré, broke in two, yesterday afternoon.
The personnel on board were reportedly evacuated.
More information to come.
Source: LNC NC Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes