Solomon Islands, Rennel Island: Environmental Concerns as Bulk Carrier Runs Aground
A threat of serious environmental damage looms after a bulk carrier runs aground at Rennel Island 100 nm South of Guadalcanal.
Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago
MV Solomon Trader ran aground on the Western side of Rennel Island on 5 February while loading bauxite ore from a foreign-owned mine on the island.
The eastern half of Rennel Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Major concerns have been raised by government, as well as environmental organizations and local communities, about the effects of the spill on local ecosystems.
Strong winds and rough seas for two weeks while cyclone Oma passed through the area have hindered salvage operations as well as damage assessment efforts.
It has been confirmed by officials that the hull has been breached. The main environmental threat comes from the potential leakage of over 600 tons of heavy fuel oil that was onboard at the time of the incident.
AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) is working alongside the Solomon Islands Government to assess the damage and have recently confirmed that pollutants continue to leak into the surrounding sea and shoreline.
The incident has highlighted the lack of environmental impact assessments being carried out by the government before granting license to the mining company.
Local communities are urging the government and mining company to act quickly to remove the wreck before further damage is sustained.
Noonsite has not independently verified this information.