Crews Readying Heavy Lift Vessel VB-10000 for Golden Ray Salvage

Mike Schuler
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July 6, 2020

The VB-10000 arrives at the Port of Fernandina in Florida, July 3, 2020. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The twin-hulled heavy lift vessel VB-10,000 has arrived at the Port of Fernandina in Florida for its final modifications as it prepares to cut up and remove of the capsized Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Georgia.

Versabar’s VB-10000 arrived at the port on the morning of July 3. While there, crews will make modifications to the rigging beams on the heavy lift vessel’s 255-foot tall gantries and conduct function checks prior to heading to St. Simons Sound in early to mid-July.

The Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded as it departed the Port of Brunswick back in September 2019. All vehicles remain inside the ship’s cargo holds.

The VB-1000’s gantries will use 400-foot lengths of chain to cut the capsized vessel Golden Ray into eight pieces and lift them onto barges for eventual transportation to Louisiana for recycling.

An environmental protection barrier has been constructed around the wreck to mitigate pollution to the surrounding waters during the cutting and removal operation.

Last month, crews recently completed welding 16 lifting lugs to the hull of the Golden Ray which will provide the connection points for the VB 10,0000’s crane to secure sections of the hull as they are cut and removed. Response crews also removed the 275-ton ramp in four sections beginning on June 18 in order to reduce the amount of weight of the stern section when it is cut and lifted.

Golden Ray’s insurer North P&I has estimated the gross claim figure wreck to be in excess of $400 million, making it one of the biggest claims ever handled by the group.

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