Posted on May 14, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Hong Kong-flagged bulker, Solomon Trader was refloated on May the 11th after having spent almost three months grounded in the shallows near Renell Island, Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Trader originally went aground back on February the 5th, following a series of intense weather phenomena that had been caused by the Cyclone Oma that had swept through the region.
Unfortunately, within two weeks of the grounding, the Solomon Trader suffered a hull breach that caused a significant environmental disaster, the extent of which the Solomon Islands had not yet experienced.
In the ensuing spill, the food stocks and livelihoods of locals living on the island were irreparably damaged.
It is estimated, that over a 100 tons of fuel oil washed out on Kangava Bay, which is considered a UNESCO protected World Heritage site, and includes the largest raised coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
The vessel’s removal should now allow for a full environmental assessment to be made. Following the assessment, it’s quite likely that the Solomon Islands government will be seeking compensation for the environmental damage that was caused to Kangava Bay.
The Solomon Trader’s charterer, bauxite mine operator Bintan Mining, has refused to accept any responsibility for the spill, but the Solomon Islands’ acting Prime Minister, Rick Hou, has gone on record to suggest that the companies involved will be blacklisted if they refuse to accept culpability.