Salvage operations on the capsized Golden Ray car carrier have been temporarily suspended due to the onset of heavy weather from Hurricane Humberto off the southeastern United States.
“Out of concern for the safety for our response crews we have made the decision to temporarily halt operations involving the Golden Ray and plan to resume as soon as it’s safe to,” said Commander Norm Witt, the Federal On Scene Coordinator.
Specialists are monitoring air quality around the vessel and surrounding areas, but so far no impacts on air quality have been detected to date. Response teams have also been canvassing the shoreline to identify environmental impacts from the wreck.
The Unified Command is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive plan to remove pollutants from the vessel, which is hard aground but stable.
Meanwhile, commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick has resumed on a case by case basis.
The Golden Ray was carrying around 4,200 when it capsized in the St. Simons Sound, at entrance to the Port of Brunswick, early in the morning on September 8 as it was departing the port with a pilot and 23 crew members aboard.
Georgia’s Department of Public Health has warned beachgoers of the possibility of oil in the water in the vicinity of the wreck.
The Captain of the Port has updated the safety zone around the Golden Ray to 150 yards of the incident site. Additionally, vessels greater than 500 gross tons remain subject to a half-nautical mile safety zone around the site and require authorization from the Captain of the Port to transit.
Salvage plans and oil recovery continued through Saturday, including securing the ship for the arrival of heavy weather.
The NWS National Hurricane Centered reported Monday that Hurricane Humberto was centered about 710 miles west of Bermuda as of 11 a.m. EDT, moving east-northeast near 7 mph. As of Monday there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
The Marshall Islands-flagged Golden Ray is operated by South Korean logistics company Hyundai Glovis and has capacity to carry 6,933 vehicles. The next port of call was Baltimore, according to AIS data.
The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems. Multiple federal, state, local and partner organizations are also assisting in the response.