21 Nov 2019

Kea Trader emergency response lifted in New Caledonia

7:33 am on 21 November 2019

The French government has ended its emergency response regime to the 2017 grounding of a new container ship in New Caledonia's waters.

The Kea Trader

The Kea Trader Photo: AFP

The 184-metre Kea Trader had run at full speed into the Durand Reef near Mare after which debris and oil began spilling into the ocean.

France invoked its ORSEC response scheme to contain the disaster.

The salvage operation involved pumping more than half a million litres of fuel out of the wreck which in a storm eventually broke up into two.

The ship's owner last year hired Shanghai Salvage Company to remove the wreck.

The French authorities say the emergency is now over.

An investigation by the maritime safety authority of Malta, where the vessel was registered, said although the ship had top navigational equipment its crew ignored warnings.

The report said on the night of the stranding, the weather was clear and the swells were moderate.

The Kea Trader's navigation system had no particular problem, although it was not configured correctly and its alarms had been deactivated, it said.

The captain and his second-in-command appeared to have ignored warning messages.

The report concluded the collision came down to human error, particularly the crew's overconfidence in the ship's technology.

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