M/V Golden Ray Salvage: Section Six Removed from Wreck Site, Two Sections Remain

Responders removed Section Six from the Golden Ray wreck site on Saturday, August 14th.  Six of eight sections of the Golden Ray wreck have been removed. The two remaining sections will be separated by one final cut.


Welders prepare to attach several custom fabricated cradles to the hull-side of Section Six. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Tug crews towed Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal on Saturday. Wreck removal personnel safely lifted and loaded the section onto a dry dock barge on Friday. Approximately 25 pollution response vessels quickly mitigated an oil discharge using oil skimmers, Current Busters and sorbent boom during the final lift of the section. In total, on-water pollution response teams recovered approximately 2,300 gallons of oil during controlled lifting operations beginning on July 31.

The VB-10000 began a refitting period on Sunday, August 15 to prepare for the final cutting operation on the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck. Two sections remain. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo. 

“We greatly appreciate the patience and support of the community as we complete another significant step in removing the Golden Ray wreck from St. Simons Sound,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “Our personnel continue to ensure our safety priorities are met throughout all operations from the wreck site to the shoreline.”

Earlier: Source of Oil Discharge Capped

Responders contained the source of oil discharges from Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday, August 6. Wreck removal personnel began preparing the section on Sunday for weight-shedding operations this week.

The VB-10000 moves Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck into a position to facilitate weight-shedding operations as required. Once weight-shedding operations are complete, the section will be lifted onto a dry-dock barge. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo. 

Wreck removal personnel capped a venting pipe after it was raised above the waterline during a partial lifting operation of Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday. The submerged vent was very likely the source of the oil discharges during lifting operations which started on July 31. The venting pipe connected to two tanks which had fuel removed during fuel lightering operations in October 2019. Since securing the vent, pollution observers report minimal amounts of oil around the section. Pollution mitigation teams will continue to monitor the section for any potential oil discharges and oil recovery vessels remain on-station 24-hours.

“The training and preparation of the shoreline and on-water response teams showed in their rapid response to oil-impacts from Section Six,” said State On-scene Coordinator John Maddox of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, “we encourage the public to continue to remain vigilant when fishing, swimming or accessing the beaches until removal of the wreck is completed.”

Earlier: Cutting Operations Complete

Wreck removal personnel separated Section Six from the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday, July 30, eight days after cutting on the section had begun.  They will prepare the section to be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge for transit to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick, Ga. 

The VB-10000 holds Section Six shortly after it was separated from the Golden Ray wreck.  Two sections of the wreck remain. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo. 

Since the operations began on July 20, a debris removal crew removed 78 vehicles and 6 moveable decks and 5 shots of chain from areas adjacent to the wreck inside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB). A weight-shedding team removed 50 vehicles from Section Four of the remaining wreck in an effort to reduce the overall weight of the section when it is eventually lifted. Any reduction of weight contributes to an overall safer lift. The removed vehicles are then off-loaded from barges into containers and transferred by truck to local auto recycling facilities.

Click HERE for our previous Update on the M/V Golden Ray salvage

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