13 Feb 2019

Fears for protected area after Solomons ship grounding

5:02 pm on 13 February 2019

Environmentalists fear the grounding of a ship off Rennell Island in the Solomon Islands could bring more damage to a marine protected area.

The MV Solomon Trader on the reef

The MV Solomon Trader on the reef Photo: Supplied

The MV Solomon Trader hit a reef in Kangava Bay off Rennell Island just over a week ago as it was loading bauxite from a nearby mine.

Chris Bone of OceansWatch Solomon Islands said it was likely to have damaged the coral which is already suffering.

"Added to the stress of acidification, high water temperatures and the result of spilt bauxite ore into the sea, which is happening a lot, this could easily wipe out that area of reef."

Chris Bone said local people are very concerned about the ship grounding and want to know when there will be action to get it off the reef.

Solomons govt to meet over stranded ship

Meanwhile, the Solomons Islands government said stakeholders would meet on Thursday to discuss the ship stranding.

The Director of Environment, Joe Horokou, said they have not been able to reach the vessel due to the adverse weather conditions.

He said the country had been experiencing heavy rain and strong winds - brought about by the effects of Cyclone Oma in nearby Vanuatu.

But Mr Horokou hoped the weather would improve this week so officials could get to the ship and inspect the damage.