The MV Golden Ray pictured October 1, 2019, in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Georgia. Photo: St. Simons Sound Unified Command
Officials overseeing the salvage of the overturned Golden Ray in Brunswick, Georgia have opted to dismantle the vessel in place in lieu of refloating it due to environmental concerns.
The new plan will inevitably ensure the timeline for removing the vessel will be measured in months, if not longer.
The Unified Command says experts engaged in the response have determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition.
“Consequently, Unified Command is developing plans to remove all of the M/V Golden Ray’s hull, components, and cargo by disassembling the vessel in place. This remains a complex situation but additional information about the removal plan and the expected timeline will be shared with the public as and when available,” the Unified Command said in an update on the operation.
More than 225,000 gallons of fuel have been removed from the vessel to date, including lightering of forward fuel oil tanks. Lightering of the remaining fuel and lubricant tanks continues.
The pure car and truck carrier Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded in St. Simons Bay as it departed Georgia’s Port of Brunswick on September 8. Four of the ship’s twenty-four crew members were initially reported missing, but they were later located and rescued after some 30 hours stuck inside the vessel.
Officials at the port commended the Brunswick Bar pilot for intentionally grounding the ship, preventing an even worse disaster.
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 U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems.
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