MV Solomon Trader salvage delayed

10:29 am on 6 June 2019

The Solomon Islands government says the salvaging of the ship at the centre of the Rennell environment disaster is behind schedule.

MV Solomon Trader oil spill on Rennell Island, Solomon Islands.

The MV Solomon Trader oil spill grounded on the reef off Rennell Island in March. Photo: The Australian High Commission Solomon Islands

The head of the salvaging operation said there were delays in the dewatering and discharging of bauxite from the vessel.

On May 11 the MV Solomon Trader was refloated after spending more than three months grounded on a reef near a world heritage area and after it had spilt oil into previously pristine seas.

However, Mike Riddle said there was more work to be done on patching leaks under the vessel with one hole of around 25 metres in length yet to be repaired and a more thorough check needed.

Mr Riddle said the salvaging work was due to be finished today but delays in discharging bauxite from the cargo holds has prolonged the operation with patching and welding to be completed first.

He also said the vessel was vulnerable to bad weather as it was only being held by one anchor but the team is working as fast as it can.

The ship is stuck in Kangava Bay, on the island's western side, close to a 37,000-hectare protected marine area in the east in February.

Rennell is the largest raised coral atoll in the world, and contains diverse and unmodified forests, coral and species.

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