More boxes removed as Kea Trader wreck rotates

Salvors have removed all but 99 containers from stricken Lomar vessel.

Salvors have removed all but 99 containers from the grounded Lomar Shipping vessel Kea Trader.

The 2,194-teu ship (built 2017) got stuck on a rock reef off New Caledonia in the Pacific on 12 July, with 756 boxes on board.

Continual pounding in storm-force seas broke the ship in two in November.

"Since then each section has remained in situ – the forward-half steady but having now rotated, while the aft has rolled in heavy seas but has generally maintained its original position," Lomar said

Of the containers still remaining, 86 are empty.

The owner added that favourable weather conditions over the festive holiday period enabled salvor Ardent to make progress on several fronts, including the discharge of eight empty containers from inside the cargo holds.

Each was cut into three sections and moved by helicopter on to a nearby barge.

Work has also focused on cleaning fuel tanks, with 40 cbm of previously un-pumpable material removed by helicopter.

"Small quantities remain within parts of the vessel that are currently inaccessible and will continue to be removed as work progresses," the company said.

A further 150 cbm of solid materials from within the accommodation and office areas – including electronic equipment, mattresses, furniture and ceiling tiles – has also been airlifted off the vessel in the past eight weeks.

A Lomar spokesman said: “Our recovery team continues to work to safely retrieve materials from the vessel whilst also protecting the marine environment.

"This has always been our approach and while good progress has been made in several areas, there is still a considerable amount of work to do, as and when weather conditions allow.”