In February 2019, Resolve Marine Group was contracted to safely remove the M/V Solomon Trader grounded on coral reefs in Kanagava Bay, Renell Islands, part of the Solomon Islands. The bulk carrier, loaded with over 10,000 metric tons of bauxite and an estimated 100 tons of fuel oil, ran aground on the environmentally sensitive, UNESCO world heritage site known for its pristine beaches and endemic marine life. The Solomon Trader salvage was further complicated when Cyclone Orma passed over the islands, two-weeks after the initial grounding, causing fuel oil to leak. Due to the remote location, harsh weather, and limited local resources, RESOLVE teams directed strategic mobilization of global assets from the USA, Australia, and Singapore with coordination teams located in Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Brisbane, Australia.
The Solomon Trader was seriously compromised with engine rooms, and cargo holds fully flooded through tears in the hull up to 4m long. The Solomon Trader, with its full cargo and fuel tanks, presented a logistical, engineering, and environmental challenge that required careful coordination as engineers, working with the Solomon Island Government, crafted plans to lighter cargo and fuel, refloat the vessel, and conduct a thorough oil spill clean-up. While salvors worked on the stranded vessel, oil response crews deployed nearly 12,000 feet of oil boom along with sausage boom/sorbent pads. These were supplemented by OSRV’s carrying out skimming operations on the Tigoa and Onegoa beaches. Locals chipped in to collect waste and helped with manual beach clean-up removing oily sands, debris, and buried oil. Over 400 oil-coated wooden logs were cleaned, milled, and reused as wastewater and fuel oil were environmentally disposed. In June, RESOLVE was able to successfully refloat the vessel and carry out the required repairs enabling the Solomon Trader’s safe movement to deeper water for towage to Singapore.