Responders use an oil skimmer to recover oil discharges near the Environmental Protection Barrier during lifting operations. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
After having spent most of the month of November cutting and removing the bow ("Section One") of the Golden Ray, delayed by equipment challenges and tropical weather, responders have now successfully cut, lifted and removed the stern ("Section Eight") of the vessel.
According the The Brunswick News, this stern section weighed 6,250 metric tons and measured 101 feet by 135 feet by 113 feet. With two sections now removed, 453 feet of the 656 foot long vessel remain to be removed in six sections according to plans.
After completing the first cut and removal operation, response engineers implemented a number of modifications to the cutting apparatus based on data collected during the first cut. These improvements required custom fabrication on-site, and the engineers expressed confidence that cutting durations for the subsequent six cuts would significantly reduce and offset the time spent to implement.
Cutting operations to remove the stern section began on December 25th, and were completed on January 2nd. Significant modifications to the cutting process included drilling strategically located drainage holes, and also (again reported by The Brunswick News) holes drilled along the intended cutting line to guide the chain, and replacements of grade 3 chain links with grade 4 steel.
Above: The Barge 455-8 is equipped with a containment barrier to capture any further pollution releases from the section. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Above: The Tug KURT CROSBY assists the Barge 455-8 as it receives Section Eight of the Golden Ray wreck. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
The Barge 455-8 deballasts as it receives Section Eight, the stern of the Golden Ray wreck. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.