Container ship Kea Trader stranded: Armed Forces in New Caledonia mobilized

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On Wednesday, 12 July 2017, the Kea Trader, an 184-meter container ship, ran aground on Durand Reefs, 50 nautical miles southeast of Mare Island, triggering the ORSEC Ship Assistance Plan In difficulty, and the setting up, under the responsibility of the commander of the maritime zone New Caledonia, of the Crisis Treatment Center (CTCM).

On the same day the armed forces of New Caledonia mobilized. The Vendémiaire surveillance frigate diverged to rally the zone as quickly as possible and to support the action of the projected means. At the same time, a Gardian maritime surveillance aircraft overflies the grounding area to make a first visual assessment and establish contact with the ship’s crew. During the day, an assessment and response team, consisting of four civilian and military maritime experts, was hoisted in the container ship by a Puma helicopter.

Once the safety of the crew has been ensured, an anti-pollution action plan, controlled by two experts from the Navy’s Center of Expertise on Pollution Control, has been developed in order to prevent or limit the risks of leakage pollution. hydrocarbons. The latter consisted of pumping the more than 500 tons of heavy fuel oil on board, storing them in tanks, and transferring these tanks from the Kea Trader to a barge by helicopter.

In addition to the important means implemented by the shipowner, the FANCs continued to be mobilized. As a preventive measure, the multi-mission building (B2M) D’Entrecasteaux arrived on site on July 18th under the supervision of the Vendémiaire surveillance frigate, with equipment and a pollution control team on board. Finally, Louis Henin, of the Pacific Oceanographic Group (GOP), carried out hydrographic surveys of the grounding zone in order to secure the nautical maneuvers in the area.

The transhipment of hydrocarbons was completed on 9 August. The major risk of pollution being eliminated, the B2M joined Nouméa on 11 August, the priority being now the bailout of the merchant vessel. The FANC system remains active with the maintenance of a building in order to deal with a possible event on the working area of ​​the Kea Trader.

Within a broad area of ​​responsibility of the Pacific Ocean, FANC’s main missions are to ensure the sovereignty of France, to animate regional cooperation and to maintain privileged relations with all the riparian countries. The FANCs regularly commit their resources to assist the population, in support of the other services of the State.