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Unified Command Center Established for Golden Ray Salvage

Golden Ray

By The Maritime Executive 09-11-2019 07:35:29

A Unified Command and Joint Information Center have been established for the salvage of the vehicle carrier Golden Ray which capsized at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday.

The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems. The Unified Command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and responders, protecting wildlife and the environment, ensuring economical activities in the area are minimally affected and the eventual salvage and safe removal of the vessel.

A safety zone has been established a half-mile mile around the vessel. Currently there are 12 vessels and 179 responders supporting the response. 

Minor sheening along the north bank of the Brunswick River and Bird Island has been reported and response teams have been dispatched to minimize further impacts. Approximately 1,200 feet of boom has been deployed near the vessel and 3,100 feet of boom along Bird Island.

The 656-foot vessel capsized with a fire on board in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Georgia. There were 24 on board, 23 crew and one pilot. All were rescued. However, the stricken vessel still poses a major hazard to navigation for the Port of Brunswick. She capsized at the entrance to St. Simons Sound while departing the port for Baltimore.

The commanding officer at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah, Norm C. Witt, has warned that the salvage could take months. Speaking to local media, he said: “I would say that each step of the way, we're continuing to redefine those plans as we learn more about the condition of the ship and trying to make sure that our processes are as safe and effective as possible. This is definitely something that we want to get right the first time.”