Crews have separated the latest section of the Golden Ray as the operation to cut and remove the wreck stretches into its fifth month.
The St. Simons Sound Incident Response reports that Section Two was separated from the wreck on Monday just seven days after cutting began, marking an improvement from the previous three cuts. Section Two will now be lifted onto the Barge JULIE B and moved to facility at Mayors Point Terminal in Brunswick, Georgia. Once secured for ocean transit, the JULIE B will depart Brunswick for a ship recycling facility in Louisiana.
“Section Two was cut and separated in seven days without any unplanned stoppages” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “The speed of this cut was a result of the structural characteristics of the section combined with the cutting technique and pre-cutting operations.”
The last cut comes after crews struggled for over a month with Section Seven, which includes the ship’s engine room. Cutting was actually suspend on February 28 after a link in the cutting chain failed during cutting operations.
Once Section Two is secured on the barge, the VB-10000 will prepare to resume cutting on Section Seven, where divers have continued an operation to reinsert the cutting chain into the cut groove. Response engineers, meanwhile, are working to collect data from fixed monitors and hydrographic surveys and they confirm that the wreck remains stable, the incident command said.
The Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded in St. Simons Sound as it departed the Port of Brunswick in September 2019. All vehicles remained inside the ship’s cargo holds upon commencement of the removal operation. In total, the wreck will be cut into eight sections (seven cuts), which will be removed by barge for transport to a recycling facility. The removal of Section Two marks the third section to be seperated.
Throughout the cutting operation, crews have continued to observe and recover oil sheens and debris on the water around the wreck site, including outside Environmental Protection Barrier which was constructed to mitigate the release of pollutants.
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