First Floating Pipe Barrier Segment Installed Around Golden Ray

Unified Command photo by Diego Hurtado
Unified Command photo by Diego Hurtado

Published Mar 28, 2020 8:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

The first 36-inch diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) floating pipe barrier segment has been installed around the wreck of the Golden Ray.

The environmental protection barrier is being built by Weeks Marine. The HDPE pipe, which is foam filled and one of 36 segments in total, will float on the water surface between steel buoys constrained by the structural framing at each pile group. The HDPE barrier will secure and protect a floating offshore oil boom that will be installed outside of the pipe and will completely surround the wreck site. 

The 20,000 dwt Golden Ray partially capsized on September 8, 2019 while heading outbound from the Port of Brunswick, Georgia.

Around 6,000 tons of aggregate rock has already been placed around the ship’s hull to reduce erosion. This was done in October last year. The area experiences strong tidal currents, and at that time the wreck had listed from 90 to 100 degrees.

Shipowner Hyundai Glovis has appointed Galveston-based T&T Salvage to demolish the vessel in place. The plan calls for cutting the ship into eight large sections, then hoisting and removing each section by barge. Some of the 4,200 new cars contained within the Golden Ray's hull are expected to fall into the water during the operation, according to court filings.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said that an injunction delaying the salvage would be “averse to the public interest.” Donjon-SMIT was initially involved in the salvage as part of OPA-90 regulations in place at the time of the incident. However, the vessel owner Hyundai Glovis, and insurer North of England P&I Club, instead contracted T&T Salvage for the wreck removal after consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard. Donjon-SMIT took its complaint to court in February.