Section Eight, the stern, separates from the Golden Ray wreck under load after responders completed cutting operations overnight. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo

Second Section Cut in Golden Ray Wreck Removal

Mike Schuler
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January 4, 2021

Crews finished with the second cut of the Golden Ray wreck in St. Simons Sound, Georgia on Saturday and the section now awaits lifting onto a barge for disposal, the incident command reported.

The cut section, known as Section Eight, the stern, is now being prepared for lifting onto the Barge 455-8 for transport out of the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) to Mayor’s Point Terminal for further sea-fastening.

The successful second cut comes after modification to the cutting apparatus to help the operation progress more quickly.

“We are confident that the time invested to implement modifications to the cutting apparatus as well as perform critical maintenance to the wreck removal equipment will contribute to a safe and efficient cutting operation.” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems, upon commencement of the second cut. “We are ready to mitigate expected debris and other potential threats. The operation may be loud at times and please respect the safety zones around the wreck site.”

The heavy-lift vessel VB10,000 arrives at the Golden Ray wreck site on Oct. 27, 2020. The vessel will be used to cut and lift the wreck sequentially into eight sections to be placed on barges and dry docks inside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB). St. Simons Sound Incident photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes

The previously removed bow section, known as Section One, was transported to a recycling facility in Gibson, Louisiana, aboard the Barge JULIE B. The barge is now due to return to Brunswick, Georgia and stay on standby to receive Section Two. Custom fabricated cradles on the barges are designed to receive specific sections of the wreck.

Meanwhile, pollution monitoring and mitigation continues on the water in the vicinity of the wreck site and along the shoreline. Responders have to observed and mitigated oil sheens, small oil discharges and debris on the water in the vicinity of the wreck, while shoreline teams continue to recover residual oil and debris on Jekyll Island and St Simons Island. No further treatment was necessary after each recovery.

The response environmental unit continues to collect water samples in the vicinity of the wreck site in accordance with the response Water Quality Sampling Plan.

A 200-yard safety zone remains in place around the EPB and the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter.

The Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded in St. Simons Sound in Georgia as it departed the Port of Brunswick in September 2019. All vehicles remain inside the ship’s cargo holds and are being cut along with the wreck’s hull.

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