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Oil is continuing to spill from a section of the Golden Ray that was separated from the remainder of the wreck one week ago.
The latest spill occurred Wednesday morning as wreck removal personnel partially raised Section Six. The Salvage master paused the lifting operation to allow the recovery of oil that began pooling inside of retention boom around the section. Personnel used oil skimmers and a floating vacuum to pump oil into containment tanks on a nearby work barge.
Some oil escaped beyond the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) and approximately 30 vessels responded.
An initial discharge oil was first reported last Saturday during weight-shedding operations on Section Six, which was separated from the wreck the day before and remains in place and connected to the VB-10000. A similar discharge occurred Monday.
“We are executing very controlled lifts of Section Six in order to recover any oil that discharges from the section without overwhelming our multi-layered mitigation system,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Removing this section will take time and we appreciate the patience and support of the community as we move forward.”
Approximately 80 personnel split into several shoreline clean-up teams are continuing to work to mitigate oiled shorelines along the southern edge of St. Simons Island from Massengale Park to west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island and on the northside of Jekyll Island. A wildlife assessment team from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division have observed a small number of oiled juvenile Royal terns during a survey of Bird Island on Wednesday. The team did not attempt to recover the terns because they were mobile and did not show signs of injury. No additional oil has been observed on the island.
Lifting operations will be limited to conditions that are safe and favorable for the mitigation of any potential oil discharges, the St. Simons Sound Incident Command said in its update.
The 656-foot Golden Ray had a pilot and 23 crew members on board 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. All crew members and the pilot were rescued, including four crew members stuck in the engine room for more than a day following the capsizing.
Wreck removal involves cutting the wreck into eight sections for removal by barge. With the Section Six completed, one cut and two sections remain.
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