21 Jul 2017

Mystery remains around New Caledonia grounding

9:53 am on 21 July 2017

There is still no word what caused the container ship Kea Trader to run onto a reef off New Caledonia last week.

Rescue efforts are underway to salvage the brand new 200-metre long Kea Trader, ran onto the Durand Reef about 100 kilometres southeast of the island of Mare.

An investigation has been launched into the incident which happened at night.

The WWF's Marc Oremus has told the news agency AFP the situation is mind-boggling and must have been the result of human error because the reef is well marked on shipping maps.

The vessel was on its way from Papeete in French Polynesia to Noumea.

New Caledonia's daily newspaper said 11 experts from the salvage company Ardent were onboard the brand new Malta-flagged ship.

The Kea Trader

The Kea Trader Photo: AFP

A tug boat has been sent from the French navy base with anti-pollution equipment although first reports said there was no fuel leaking from the double-hulled ship.

The 700 tonnes of fuel in the ship's tanks are expected to pumped out.

The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation has reportedly been contacted to help ensure a spill will be avoided.

Equipment has been flown in from Australia and more is due from Singapore.

The Kea Trader was built in China this year and its owner is the international company Lomar.