Video: Giant Section of Golden Ray's Hull Loaded Onto Deck Barge

golden ray
Image courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response

Published Mar 17, 2021 2:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, salvors have hoisted and loaded out a third massive section of the hull of the capsized ro/ro Golden Ray, which went aground and partially capsized in Georgia's St. Simons Sound in September 2019. 

The massive heavy lift barge VB 10000 completed cutting operations to remove the section on Monday, and it finished loading the wreckage onto the deck barge Julie B on Tuesday. Once the section is secured for sea, it will be towed to a scrapping yard 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 VB 10000 will now shift back to work on the previous cut, the third in the series, which presents additional complications. The salvage team was forced to halt work on the third cut and shift to the fourth after a series of chain breakages and equipment problems; the third passes through the vessel's engine room, and it has to contend with additional steel reinforcement and equipment.

Images courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response

The operation's spill response vessels are still finding and recovering oil sheens and debris on the water around the wreck site (above), according to the unified command. The Golden Ray still contains quantities of bunker fuel and lubricating oil, along with a cargo of cars, and salvors predicted that limited amounts of pollution would occur during the demolition and removal process.

According to the response team's engineers, regular hydrographic surveys show that the wreck remains stable.