Golden Ray Salvage: Cutting Continues on Section Three After Fire and Assessments

Cutting operations to remove Section Three of the Golden Ray continue in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Ga.  Earlier in May a fire aboard the vessel was suppressed without injury.

The cutting chain progresses along the pre-cut groove during operations to separate Section Three from the remaining Golden Ray wreck on May 30. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo. 

Side-by-side images show progress made by the cutting chain on the hull-side of the Golden Ray wreck from Wednesday to Saturday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

EARLIER:  Fire at the Golden Ray wreck is out, responders continue fire watch overnight

Response firefighting teams suppressed the fire inside the Golden Ray wreck and will maintain a fire watch throughout the night.

“Early this evening our firefighting teams successfully put out the fire inside the Golden Ray wreck,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “ Safety is our highest priority and every member of the response displayed tremendous commitment to ensuring that emergency plans were followed during the entire fire fighting and evacuation evolution.”

Boundary cooling operations continue on May 15 at the Golden Ray wreck using seawater and a fire monitor system installed on the VB-10000 following a fire inside the wreck the prior day. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Firefighting assets will remain on station throughout the night to mitigate any potential fire. All wreck removal personnel are accounted for and all non-essential personnel evacuated shortly after the fire began, no injuries were sustained.

An infrared image of the wreck shows the areas of high heat during fire suppression operations around the Golden Ray wreck on May 14. The response uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to collect critical imagery for response operations from infrared imagery to aerial assessments of shoreline and marsh areas. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

“Fires are an unfortunate possibility given the dangerous conditions inside the wreck,” said Incident commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Despite the extreme environmental conditions around the wreck, our personnel continue to safeguard the environment through our comprehensive monitoring and mitigation procedures on the water and at the shoreline.”

In addition to a fire watch, response on-water pollution mitigation personnel will continue their routine 24-hour watch around the wreck site closely monitoring for any potential debris or oil impacts. Safety personnel continue to conduct mobile air monitoring on the water and at sensitive areas in the community. The response environmental unit will conduct additional water sampling to measure for any impacts to water quality. Previous water sampling analyses have not detected any exceedances of water quality standards.

“Throughout the fire, our safety personnel did not detect any exceedance of air quality standards during their community monitoring using mobile air monitors,” said State on-scene coordinator John Maddox of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division.

Responders increased their fire suppression efforts after smoke began emanating from the ship during pre-cutting operations. Pre-cutting operations involve the use of 6-foot cutting torches and fire suppression systems are actively used during such operations. Wreck removal personnel were conducting pre-cutting along the cut groove for Section Three in order to direct the cutting chain away from thicker steel identified along the cut path during a routine inspection on Thursday.

“Once we are able to access the site safely, we will conduct a thorough analysis of the structural integrity of the wreck as well as all wreck removal equipment,” said Matt Cooke of T&T Salvage.

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