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Accident date
New Caledonia
Accident area
lagoon off Noumea
Spill area
Cause of spill
Quantity transported
775 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
diesel fuel oil
Quantity spilled
more than 100 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Built date
63 m

On 23 January 1997, the tanker the Konemu ran aground in Numea’s lagoon and accidentally spilled 100 tonnes of diesel. Drifting under the effect of a trade wind, the oil slick reached the small islands of Charron and Bailly, then the coast of Mont-Dore’s town and Boulari’s mangrove in spite of the oil response means (hull plugging, floating boom, polystyrene absorbing foam, etc.) which had been set up rapidly according to the Polmar Sea Plan.

On 31 January, the government’s representative requested an expert from Cedre to be sent to Numea in order to assess the impact of the spill on the environment and on economic activities, to help to settle the compensation procedures and the reimbursement of the oil sea response expenses, to estimate the risks of accidental pollution in New Caledonia and to help to improve the Marine Pollution response plan by estimating the response equipment needs.

This small scale accident revealed the weaknesses of the local preparation to respond to accidental sea pollution and its consequences. The State services set about the territory’s Polmar Plan review and set up a preparation programme in response to accidental maritime water pollution through staff training courses and the annual organization of antipollution drills.

Last update on 02/01/2000
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