A CRANE barge from the Shanghai Salvage Company has arrived in Nouméa, New Caledonia, as part of efforts to clean up the remnants of the KEA TRADER vessel.

KEA TRADER ran aground on Durand Reef off New Caledonia in July 2017.

The crane barge is CALI arrived in Nouméa following a 35-day 4,400NM voyage from its home port of Shanghai, towed by the offshore supply and response vessel DE ZHOU.

The pair were escorted for the second half of their journey by another SSC offshore work ship, the HUA AO.

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Built in 2009, the CALI has been reconstructed following detailed engineering studies and model testing at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University into a semi-submersible crane barge.

A 126-metre long, 32-metre wide barge, the CALI arrived in Nouméa with a transit team of 30 personnel. It is equipped with an 800-tonne lifting capacity crane with a 25-metre reach that can operate at a shallow draft.

Following the CALI’s arrival, crew immediately began transferring equipment to escort vessels. CALI is to remain at anchorage off Nouméa while the DE ZHOU and HUA AO sail to Durand Reef to complete preparations ahead.

Removal operations on site are to start within the next few months. Steel recovered from the site is to be transferred to New Caledonia for recycling.

TMC Marine are on site as marine consultants

The detailed wreck removal methodology for this project was approved at the end of 2019 and has been designed to meet the special challenges and characteristics of Durand Reef.

“Detailed studies and environmental analysis of the site, approval of work plans and a complete retrofitting of this specialist vessel have all taken time,” a spokesman for Lomar Shipping said. “However we are entering a final stage of removing the KEA TRADER, and are grateful for the diligence of the authorities and the co-operation and patience shown by everyone in New Caledonia.

“SSC has now the assets in place and the comprehensive plan to complete this challenging project.”

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