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Video: Fifth Section of Golden Ray Wreck Hoisted and Removed

Published Jul 6, 2021 8:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Salvors have hoisted and removed the fifth section of the grounded ro/ro Golden Ray, which went aground in St. Simons Sound, Georgia in September 2019. With the 2021 hurricane season now under way, two more cuts and three more sections remain to go before the project is complete, and the work is expected to take several more months. 

During the hoisting operation, tugs used fire monitors to flush sediment out of the wreckage in order to reduce weight. The section aawas placed on a barge, then welded to purpose-built cradles for transport. On Monday, it was towed over to a pier near Mayor's Point Terminal for further processing. 

The responders continue to monitor the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall in Western Florida on Wednesday. The storm will weaken as it passes to the northeast over Florida and Georgia on Wednesday night, and the area around the wreck site at Brunswick is under a tropical storm watch. 

Utility tugs use seawater to flush sediment and reduce the weight of Section Three of the Golden Ray wreck during lifting operations on Saturday. (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

Tugs guide a dry-dock barge underneath Section Three of the Golden Ray wreck during lifting operations on Saturday. (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

Wreck removal personnel prepare Section Three for a short transit to a response facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick, Ga., on Monday. (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

Section Three of the Golden Ray wreck transits under the Sidney Lanier Bridge enroute to a response facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

An aerial observer surveys the Golden Ray wreck site and communicates with environmental response vessels during lifting operations on Saturday (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

According to the unified command, pollution response teams continue to treat very light oil sheens near the Golden Ray wreck site. Shoreline assessment teams are still cleaning up oiled marsh grasses and are finding minimal amounts of oil on Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. The reported spill levels are much lower than last week, when Georgia's Coastal Health District issued a warning to the public about significant volumes of fuel oil in the water in the vicinity of the wreck. Responders used skimmers and other assets to clean up a portion of the spill. 

A continual environmental monitoring program has found no signs of breaches of air or water quality standards. 

The Golden Ray went aground and partially capsized in Georgia's St. Simons Sound on September 7, 2019. During an outbound transit in calm conditions, a routine turn to starboard turned into a runaway maneuver, ending with the vessel aground and resting on her side. Lt. Ian Oviatt, a staff engineer at the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center, told the NTSB that the vessel had taken on too little ballast for her cargo load. “The cause of the vessel capsizing was lack of righting energy due to the way the vessel was loaded,” Oviatt told an investigative panel last September. “The vessel could have taken on additional ballast to be in compliance.”