Glynn County, Georgia has filed a lawsuit against multiple parties connected to the Golden Ray and subsequent wreck removal operation following the capsizing of the car carrier as it departed the Port of Brunswick in 2019.
The lawsuit names the defendent’s as the Golden Ray’s owner, GL NV24 Shipping; manager, Hyundai Glovis; operator and technical superintendent, G-Marine Services; the ship’s agent at the Port of Brunswick, Norton Lilly International; and the salvage company, T&T Salvage, which cut and removed the partially submerged wreck over a span of more than two years.
The lawsuit seeks damages for alleged negligence as the defendants, with the exception of T&T Salvage, failed to guarantee the stability of the vessel prior to its departure from Brunswick, among other charges such as trespassing and causing a public and private nuisance.
T&T is accused of negligence with respect to salvage activities and liability over “ultrahazardous activities,” including cutting up the partially submerged vessel which resulted more in oil spills and fires.
The plaintiffs, Glynn County, are seeking a trial by jury for damages caused by the shipwreck and salvage.
According to the NTSB’s investigation report, the 656-foot-long Golden Ray capsized after heeling rapidly to port during a 68 degree turn to starboard less than 40 minutes after leaving the Port of Brunswick on September 9, 2019.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the capsizing to be the chief officer’s error entering ballast quantities into the stability calculation program. Contributing to the accident was G-Marine Service’s lack of effective procedures in their safety management system for verifying stability calculations.
The NTSB also concluded the Golden Ray did not meet international stability standards at departure.
Following the capsizing, all 23 crewmembers and one pilot on board were rescued, including four engineering crew who were trapped in the vessel for nearly 40 hours
T&T Salvage used the heavy lift crane vessel, VB-10000, to cut up the partially submerged wreck into eight sections that were then lifted onto barges and transported to a recycling facility. After numerious setbacks including oil spills and a major fire in May 2021, the final section of the Golden Ray was removed in October more than two years after the capsizing, completing what evolved to become the largest wreck removal in U.S. history.
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