Around 60 tonnes of oil has spilled from the bulker Solomon Trader, that ran aground on a coral reef in the Solomon Islands, on 4 February. The incident is already considered an environmental disaster, as well as the worst man-made natural disaster ever to hit the Solomon Islands.
The MV Solomon Trader was loading bauxite when due to rough seas, it ran aground at Kangava Bay, Rennell Island, on 4 February. The East Rennell world heritage site is the largest raised coral atoll in the world. Since 2013 the site has been on a UNESCO danger list because of logging and overfishing.
“Australia is concerned about the unfolding environmental disaster caused by the MV Solomon Trader oil spill on Rennell Island. We are exploring all options to assist the Solomon Islands Government to hold the responsible company, owners and insurers to account,” Roderick Brazier, High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, informed via social media.
According to sources, heavy fuel oil can be smelt from as far as 800 metres from the vessel. In addition, discoloured brown water was notices about 600 metres south east.
As of now, 600 tonnes more of oil are still on board the vessel.
Commenting on the disaster, Roderick Brazier, High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, mentioned that Australia is very concerned. The country is currently exploring all options to help the Solomon Islands Government to hold the responsible company, owners and insurers to account.
On February 19, AMSA deployed a military plane, equipped with clean-up gear, while a naval ship with equipment was also possible to be diverted. Australia has also sent a surveillance plane to the area.