Welders pre-stage materials and equipment to repair side plates of the lifting lugs along Sections Six and Five of the Golden Ray wreck on Monday, June 14, 2021. Photo: St. Simons Sound Incident Response

Golden Ray Cutting Paused for Equipment Maintenance

Mike Schuler
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June 15, 2021

Cutting operations on the Golden Ray wreck have been paused once again to allow for maintenance on the wreck removal equipment, the incident command said in its latest update.

Cutting operations to separate Section Three from the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck have been ongoing since resuming late last month two weeks after a fire inside the wreck.

However, the St. Simons Sound Incident Response now reports that the cutting operation had to be put on hold on Friday after a routine inspection revealed wear on one of the blocks in the cutting apparatus.

“The VB-10000 was repositioned to receive a maintenance barge and personnel unrigged the cutting apparatus to make repairs. The required maintenance is a result of routine cutting operations. Once repaired, the cutting apparatus will be repositioned along the cut groove and cutting operations will resume,” the Incident Response said in an update.

Meanwhile, welding technicians are pre-staging material on the topside of the Golden Ray and are preparing to make repairs to the side plates of the lifting lugs for three sections that have are yet to be removed (sections Four, Five and Six).

The side plates of the lifting lugs became deformed due to heat generated from a fire inside the wreck back on May 14, 2021. Response engineers will now reinspect the lugs using non-destructive testing once the repairs are complete.

In its latest update, St. Simons Sound Incident Command also addressed an oil spill that occurred June 1, reporting that shoreline survey teams have observed a significant reduction in “oil material” along St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island beaches compared to the previous week.

“Most recovered oil material was in the form of hard, weathered surface residual balls (SRBs) 1cm or smaller in size. SCAT personnel also identified and treated several small spots of oiled marsh adjacent to St. Simons Sound using sphagnum moss,” the Incident Response said.

Shoreline survey teams also continue to recover debris from Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island, which is then sorted, catalogued and disposed of according to the response debris plan.

The Golden Ray lost stability and came to rest on a sand bar in St. Simons Sound, Georgia as it departed the Port of Brunswick with 4,200 vehicles in its deck all the way back in September 2019. With the exception of section-by-section weight shedding (i.e. removal of cars and debris), all vehicles have remained inside the wreck as each section is accessed and removed.

T&T Salvage is the main contractor in the wreck removal operation.

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