SIMA Deploys Team to Asses Sunken Vessel at Noro
The Solomon Islands Maritime Administration (SIMA) is deploying an investigation and assessment team to assess the wreckage of a passenger/cargo vessel formerly known as MV Kosco that sank off a reef near Noro, Western Province, this morning (January 16th, 2023).
SIMA Director, Mr. Thierry Nervale confirmed to SIBC news.
“SIMA is aware and is coordinating the response. We have activated our Marine Pollution Advisory Committee to activate the NATPLAN and take further action.”
“We are deploying an investigation and assessment team on site. The team will comprise 2 SIMA officers and 1 MECDM Environment Division officer,” Mr. Nervale said.
The SIMA Director said the ship owner is not responsive yet although a formal letter has been addressed to him.
“We have addressed an official letter to the ship owner to inform him about his responsibilities and action he must take to cease any danger to persons and the environment. Unfortunately, the ship owner is not responsive,” he said.
SIMA is implementing lessons learned from Solomon Trader (2019) and Quebec (2021).
According to the Director, they have good coordination and response but still need to secure dedicated resources for situations like this one.
“From 1 January 2023, we have the National Pollution Fund in place that was established by the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2011 to ensure we have resources to respond to marine pollution,” Mr. Thierry Nervale said.
Reports said the vessel now known as J.Harms was stuck on a reef for several months after it ran aground on the reef near Baru.
Since then there was no attempt to salvage it until it met its fate this morning.
A Noro resident Suresh Dhari said the ship encountered mechanical problems in late 2021 in Choiseul and was towed to Noro where it anchored for a year and finally reached its fate this morning.
Another resident, Stephen Kwalemanu when spoken to said there is an oil spill that could be seen on the site.
“Yes, there is a strong fume of oil/diesel as one could clearly see all over the Noro harbor,” he said.
The ship is owned by MP for Rendova Hon. Danny Philip.
It was brought many years ago and had been serving both the Malaita and Western Provinces for many years.
By Simon Tavake