Stranded Seatrade Key Trader unload containers with helicopter

Posted by Richard Strauss


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Source : NT Publishers

For two months, Seatrade chartered container ship ‘Kea Trader’ has been stuck on a reef near New Caledonia. With a helicopter, more than 300 containers have been unloaded to make the ship lighter.

The Kea Trader (2.194 TEU) built in 2017 was a route from Papeete to French-Polynesia to Noumea in New Caledonia when it ran on Durand reef for unknown reasons on 12 July. The crew remained unharmed, but the ship was so arrested that the Dutch storage company Ardent Maritime was turned on to mount the ship.

This storage has been a complex operation. According to spokesman Jan de Vrij van Seatrade, who charters the ship from Lomar Shipping and has deployed his Meridian around-the-world service, this is due to the turbulent weather conditions in the area. “The water there is like in a washing machine. It is turbulent and the fence is sometimes five or six feet high, “he says.

In order to make the ship easy, it is necessary to make the ship lighter. Shortly after the beach, the fuel tanks were empty to protect the sensitive nature area, but that difference in weight was not enough to let the ship float again. Therefore, the ship is unloaded at sea.

The ‘Kea Trader’ is equipped with its own faucets, but due to the bad weather, barges can hardly come alongside. On August 24th, a Sikorski Skycrane helicopter was arrived by ship, flying over 300 containers from the Kea Trader to two feeders. “Such a Skycrane can lift eight tonnes, and that was enough to get the empty containers for New Zealand aboard,” says De Vrij. “Those weigh about four to five tons.”

The storage with a helicopter can then bring spectacular images, it is cheap according to De Vrij. However, all involved, including the French government, in which New Caledonia falls under its jurisdiction, is concerned with the progress of storage.

The operation with the helicopter has now been completed. Barges are always waiting for periods where the filler is low to also loosen full containers. According to De Vrij, 460 of the total of 780 containers are now unloaded. The temperature in the reefer containers has been maintained and, in the meantime, a number of containers have been delivered to their destination without any damage.

The ship, which had come from the site a few months earlier, according to Lomar Shipping in London, has incurred “proper” damage. The company was not yet available for further comment