The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier 'Solomon Trader' was loading bauxite when it ran aground due to unexpected gale at Kangava Bay, Rennell Island, on 4 February, causing an environmental disaster.


More than 70 tonnes of oil were dumped into the ocean, causing a three-mile slick in Kangava Bay which experts said was likely to cause long-term damage to the local ecosystem.

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.

The Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration’s indicated that the number of crew members on night watch might have been a factor contributing to the incident, with reports of the Solomon Trader crew being absent from the vessel or intoxicated at the time of the grounding being denied.