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Photos: Salvors Make Progress on Second Cut Through Golden Ray's Hull

cut under way golden ray
Image courtesy St. Simon Sound Incident Response

By The Maritime Executive 12-30-2020 10:24:00

Salvors are making visible progress on the second cut through the hull of the grounded ro/ro Golden Ray. After a long delay to repair and modify equipment following completion of the first cut, the second cut began on Christmas Day. Photos and video released by the response command on Tuesday show that the stud link anchor chain used to sever the hull has already penetrated deep through the ship's upper decks. 

With periodic pauses to inspect and maintain the chain, the effort is going smoothly this time, a response command spokesperson told The Brunswick News. The first cut was delayed by more than two weeks due to chain breakage and a halt to modify the cutting setup. 

Water cooling is used during the cutting process (Image courtesy St. Simon Sound Incident Response)

Responders use a hose to drive a sheen towards a collection point within the environmental protection barrier (Image courtesy St. Simon Sound Incident Response)

Cleaning up a sheen with a sorbent mop (Image courtesy St. Simon Sound Incident Response)

Tarball measuring about one inch in diameter (Image courtesy St. Simon Sound Incident Response)

The arrangement in use for the second cut differs from the initial method of rigging. The salvage team has cut the anchor chain to length and attached its ends directly to two traveling blocks, one on each side of the Golden Ray's hull. The length of the chain will be adjusted as the cut proceeds. 

The first section removed - the bow - is well under way to its final destination. It was loaded out on a deck barge and shipped to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it will be recycled. Once it is offloaded, the barge will return to the wreck site in time to take on the second section, the stern. The salvage team has ordered a set of custom-fabricated cradles to hold specific sections of the wreck in place on the barge for transport. 

Water sampling and debris cleanup efforts continue at and near the wreck site. An environmental protection barrier surrounds the operation, but light sheening, occasional debris and some small blobs of heavy fuel oil have been located near the wreck and on nearby beaches.