Golden ray

The VB-10000 began a refitting period on Sunday to prepare for the final cutting operation on the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck. Two sections remain. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Golden Ray Wreck Removal Moves to Final Cut

Mike Schuler
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August 16, 2021

Nearly two years after the grounding of the Golden Ray, the end is nearly in sight for the wreck removal operation.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Response reported Sunday that crews had removed Section Six after locating and securing the source of an oil spill that had been hampering the effort. Section Six was lifted and loaded onto a dry dock barge on Friday for towing to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal, which took place on Saturday.

The operation wasn’t without it problems. Approximately 25 pollution response vessels quickly mitigated an oil discharge using oil skimmers, Current Busters and sorbent boom during the final lift of the section. In total, on-water pollution response crews recovered approximately 2,300 gallons of oil during lifting operations on the section that began on July 31.

“We greatly appreciate the patience and support of the community as we complete another significant step in removing the Golden Ray wreck from St. Simons Sound,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “Our personnel continue to ensure our safety priorities are met throughout all operations from the wreck site to the shoreline.”

Responders are now nearly ready to remove the last two sections in the wreck removal operation.

The VB-10000 has since entered a refitting period to prepare for the final cutting operation to separate the two remaining sections of the wreck.

Meanwhile, on shore clean-up crews have continued to respond to oiled shorelines and as many as 20 Royal Tern birds found on Bird Island.

“Several factors including the age of the chicks, the amount of time they had been oiled prior to capture, and the delicate nature of the species contributed to the challenge of successfully rehabilitating and safely releasing these young birds back into the wild,” said Oil Programs Manager Michelle Knapp of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc.

The 656-foot Golden Ray was carrying over 4,000 vehicles when it capsized suddenly during a turn as it departed the Port of Brunswick on September 8, 2019, and came to rest on a sand bar.

Wreck removal involves using the VB-10000 to cut the wreck into eight sections for removal by barge. With the Section Six completed, one cut and two sections remain.

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