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A course of human errors led to Kea Trader grounding, says official report

A course of human errors led to Kea Trader grounding, says official report

Transport Malta's Marine Safety Investigation Unit issued an investigation report on the grounding of the Maltese registered container ship 'Kea Trader' in the Pacific ocean. In a first of its kind situation, the six-months-old ship, owned by Lomar Shipping, ran aground on 12 July 2017 and remains on site until today, despite continuous efforts to be removed.

The incident

At 0055 on 12 July 2017, the 'Kea Trader' ran aground and stranded in position 22° 02.28' S 168° 38.25' E (Recif Durand) in the Pacific Ocean. At the time, the vessel was on a passage from Papeete, Tahiti, to Noumea, New Caledonia.

Kea Trader was using ECDIS as the primary means of navigation and there were no paper charts onboard. The officer of the watch (OOW) was monitoring a route displayed on the ECDIS. The zone of confidence (ZOC) of the electronic navigation chart (ENC) was ‘D’ and displayed a caution symbol and textual message “[t]his chart cannot be accurately referred to WGS 84 datum; see caution message”.

A salvage company was contracted by the managers to salve the vessel and to prevent marine pollution. The salvors reported water ingress in the double bottom tanks, duct keel and cargo holds. Containers in the lower tiers of the hold were flooded and fuel oil was detected in one of the cargo hold.

Pounded repetitively by heavy swell, Kea Trader’s engine-room bulkhead failed on 23 July. No oil pollution was reportedly observed in the sea. The vessel was declared a constructive total loss on 28 September.

On 12 November, the vessel was again struck by heavy weather, fracturing the hull in way of frame. Consequently, all personnel were evacuated from the vessel. On 4 December, Kea Trader broke her back approximately in the same position.