Salvors Forging Ahead with Kea Trader Salvage

kea trader breaks in half
The 2017-built MV Kea Trader seen broken in two off New Caledonia.

Marine salvage group Ardent is continuing operations on the Kea Trader, despite the vessel’s broken hull.

The 2017-built Kea Trader ran aground in New Caledonia on July 12, just a few months after entering service. Ardent had assumed the salvage with a high emphasis towards environmental effects of the grounded vessel.

The owner of the Kea Trader, Lomar Shipping, declared the ship a total loss in September and said it would have to be scrapped. By mid-November, the vessel had broken in two from continuous impact of the elements.

“Our salvage crews worked on board of the Kea Trader until the last minute to ensure that the cargo was neither further damaged from the break-up, but also that the cargo and fuel would not cause an environmental disaster,” Ardent said in an update.

A contracted helicopter lifted the salvage crew to safety before the vessel broke up.

“Ardent’s two paramount focuses have always been the protection of the environment and the safeguarding of our client’s interests,” said Jan Polderman, Ardent Salvage Master. “Despite the vessel breaking apart from the continuous impact of the elements, we detected no environmental damage. Most of the containers have been safely discharged and we remain confident that we can continue to minimize secondary effects of the wreck.”

Although crews were able to remove the the bulk of the fuel and cargo on board, the vessel was reported to hold an unspecified amount of residual oil and about 100 containers below deck when it broke up.

“We had just achieved our ISO 14001 accreditation last quarter for Environmental Management. We would have never thought that we would be put to the test so soon. However we are pleased to see that our processes and procedures work as designed, for the greater good,” said Peter Pietka, Ardent CEO.

The cause of the grounding is still under investigation.