BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders continue cutting operations on Section One of the Golden Ray wreck.

Removal Update

The cutting of Section One has progressed through the keel, where thick, dense structural steel is located. After gathering data and modifying operations to increase cutting efficiency, engineers expect cutting to progress more quickly through the remainder of the section. Equipment to lift and remove Section One remains on standby.



The hull of the wreck of the Golden Ray shows the progress of the Section One cut. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


LINK to Cutting Chain B-Roll

Health and Safety Update

Responders continue to report sightings of drones over the wreck site along with recreational vessels in or near the safety zone. “Our crews are working under very challenging conditions. Recreational boats impeding the safety zone and drone activity in the area where our teams are actively working can be a distraction that leads to a mishap or injury,” said Incident Commander Tom Wiker, Gallagher Marine Systems. “We ask that people please respect the safety zones as they are in place for the safety of the public and responders”

Responders continue to diligently follow strict COVID-19 protocols in line with CDC guidelines and consistent with medical standards established by the Unified Command (UC).


Environmental Update


Responders show recovered debris typical to pieces recovered in the past week. St. Simons Sound Incident Photo.




LINK to video of Royal Tern release


Carly Costello of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. releases a decontaminated and rehabilitated Royal Tern on Jekyll Island, Ga. Responders recovered the lightly-oiled tern inside the Environmental Protection Barrier and safely transferred it to a regional wildlife facility for rehabilitation last week. St. Simons Sound Incident video.


Responders continue to recover small pieces of debris, some oiled, within the proximity of the wreck and at the shoreline. Light oil sheening continues to be observed adjacent to the wreck during the daily aerial and on-water surveys. If the public encounters what they believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not disturb and call the Debris Reporting Hotline at (912) 944-5620. Responders evaluate each report, survey the vicinity and recover any shipwreck debris in addition to their daily surveys of the water and the shoreline.

Natural Resource Advisors removed the carcasses of a pelican and a gull from the Environmental Protection Barrier. The carcasses were not oiled.

Noise pollution during cutting operations remains low.

The UC developed a multi-layer approach for observing, surveying, documenting and mitigating any releases of oil or debris during cutting and lifting operations. Recovery personnel are on-station at the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB), at the shoreline and on the water around the Golden Ray shipwreck. Responders are maintaining protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound.

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The 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier is increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The UC advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the wreck site is prohibited. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the motor vessel Golden Ray response operations.

For more updates, please subscribe for email alerts at https://www.stsimonssoundincidentresponse.com/

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Removal operations of the wreck of the Golden Ray continued this week after a brief stand down for Tropical Storm Eta.

Removal Update

Cutting resumed on Monday after a pause for Tropical Storm Eta. During that pause, responders continued to refine cutting equipment and methods to increase their efficiency. Equipment to lift and remove the section of the cut remains on standby.


The hull and the topside of the wreck of the Golden Ray shows the progress of the Section One cut. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Health and Safety Update

Responders continue to diligently follow strict COVID-19 protocols in line with CDC guidelines and consistent with medical standards established by the Unified Command (UC). One responder sustained a minor injury while performing routine maintenance during the weather-related pause last week.

Environmental Update

The UC developed a multi-layer approach for observing, surveying, documenting and mitigating any releases of oil or debris during cutting and lifting operations. Recovery personnel are on-station at the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB), at the shoreline and on the water around the Golden Ray shipwreck. Responders are protectively maintaining boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound.

Light oil sheening has been observed and reported adjacent to the wreck during daily aerial and on-water surveys. A small amount of oil has been recovered.

If the public encounters what they believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please call the Debris Reporting Hotline at (912) 944-5620. Responders evaluate each report and investigate the reported location in addition to their daily surveys of the water and the shoreline. Debris related to the M/V Golden Ray will be recovered once confirmed.

Responders recovered a lightly-oiled tern inside the EPB and safely transferred it to a regional wildlife facility on Monday for rehabilitation.

Noise pollution during cutting operations has been lower than anticipated.

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The 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier is increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The UC advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the wreck site is prohibited. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the motor vessel Golden Ray response operations.

For more updates, please subscribe for email alerts at https://www.stsimonssoundincidentresponse.com/

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders have redeployed protective boom at the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) and at sensitive areas around St. Simons Sound that was removed prior to Tropical Storm Eta. Cutting operations resumed on Section One once the boom was in place. During the pause in cutting, responders were able to make modifications to the cutting apparatus to improve its performance.


Responders recovered small pieces of plastic debris at the shoreline last week and they continue to scan for debris on the water and at the shoreline daily. If the public encounters what they think is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please call the Debris Reporting Hotline at (912) 944-5620.


“We have implemented multiple layers of defense and protectively positioned equipment to mitigate potential threats to the environment. Our recovery and assessment personnel are actively monitoring the water and shoreline,” said State On-scene Coordinator John Maddox of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “We expect that some debris will escape the EPB and encourage the community to notify us immediately if they encounter any debris on the shoreline or in the water using the phone number provided.”


The 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier is increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The UC advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the wreck site is prohibited. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.


The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the motor vessel Golden Ray response operations.


Responders modify a chain pulley to improve the performance of the cutting chain used to separate the Golden Ray wreck into eight sections. The cutting process is a highly complex operation that response engineers continue to fine-tune. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


For more updates, please subscribe for email alerts at https://www.stsimonssoundincidentresponse.com/


  • Media Inquiries:  912-944-7122

  • SME Videos: See here

  • Incident FAQ: see here

  • For current water and beach safety: Georgia Department of Public Health

  • Public Health Information: 844-863-0325

  • To report oiled wildlife:  800-261-0980

  • To report pollution:  800-424-8802

  • To report debris: 912-944-5620

  • Claims Information:  888-850-8486

  • Marine Safety Information Bulletin: MSIB 64-19

  • Community Outreach & Liaison Officer: 614.943.1970

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