BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders commenced cutting operations to separate Section Eight, the stern of the Golden Ray wreck, Friday. Pollution monitoring and mitigation teams are on station at the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB).

“We are confident that the time invested to implement modifications to the cutting apparatus as well as perform critical maintenance to the wreck removal equipment will contribute to a safe and efficient cutting operation.” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems, “We are ready to mitigate expected debris and other potential threats. The operation may be loud at times and please respect the safety zones around the wreck site.”


B-roll Video

Responders prepare the cutting chain for detachment from the topside of the Golden Ray wreck and subsequent rigging to the cutting apparatus. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.

A responder sets a pin to attach a pulley to a block as a part of the cutting apparatus used to separate the Golden Ray wreck into sections. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders attach the anchor chain to a pad eye on the deck of the VB-10000 during operations to rig the cutting apparatus. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A responder cuts through a link to prepare the cutting chain for tensioning. The length of the cutting chain is adjusted prior to and throughout a cutting operation to maintain a constant upward force as the chain slowly moves along the cut groove. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


The 150-yard safety zone around the EPB 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. - The VB-10000 moved into position over Section Eight of the Golden Ray wreck to undergo final preparations for cutting operations. The previously removed bow section began its transit to a recycling facility in Louisiana aboard the Barge JULIE B.

Removal Update

A responder descends to the top of the wreck of the Golden Ray to assist with attaching the VB-10000 lifting blocks to lifting lugs on Section Eight, the stern. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

The crew of the Tug CHEETAH receive a mooring line during an operation to reposition and secure the VB-10000 over the cut line for Section Eight. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Section One of the wreck of the Golden Ray departs St. Simons Sound, Ga. with vehicles secured inside the section and on the deck of the Barge JULIE B enroute to a recycling facility in Gibson, La. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Divers completed the drilling of additional drainage holes along the stern of the Golden Ray on Monday. Responders moved the VB-10000 into position over Section Eight and began final preparations for cutting operations which include securing the heavy-lift vessel in place, attaching the lifting blocks to the lifting lugs on the section and rigging the cutting apparatus.

Section One of the Golden Ray began transiting to a recycling facility in Louisiana on Tuesday onboard the Barge JULIE B. Once the recycling facility receives Section One, the barge will return to Brunswick, Ga. and standby to receive Section Two.

Health and Safety Update

One responder, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, expects to return to work after being cleared by the response medical unit. Personnel critical to wreck removal operations remain unaffected and sequestered at Epworth by the Sea.

While at the response, personnel continue to follow guidance to limit exposure to COVID-19 which includes face coverings, safe distancing and remote working when possible, daily temperature checks for all members and continuous disinfection of facilities and platforms. All incoming personnel are mandated to sequester and receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to working. Response sequestration, quarantine and isolation protocols were developed in consultation with a local department of health epidemiologist and follow CDC guidelines.

Environmental Update

An example of debris recovered near the Environmental Protection Barrier by an on-water pollution observation and mitigation team.


An example of debris recovered on the shoreline of Jekyll Island during a daily shoreline assessment. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders clean marine growth off of protective boom near Cedar Creek. The response maintains strategically-placed protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders continue to observe and recover light oil sheens and pieces of debris, some oiled, within the proximity of the wreck and at the shoreline. If the public encounters what they believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not disturb the debris 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.

The Unified Command (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 EPB 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. - Response divers are drilling additional drainage holes at strategic locations along the stern to maintain stability and even distribution of weight when lifting Section Eight. The VB-10000 will move into position for final mooring and rigging over Section Eight when dive operations are complete. Pollution monitoring and mitigation continues on the water and at the shoreline.

The vessel WINNIE holds a defensive position outside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) during routine on-water pollution mitigation operations. The response directs a flotilla of up to 36 vessels outside the EPB to monitor and dynamically protect the environment around the Golden Ray wreck site. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Personnel clean marine growth off sections of ocean boom used around the Environmental Protection Barrier during maintenance operations. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Responders install additional stability sensors on top of the Golden Ray wreck. Data from the sensors allows response engineers to monitor the dynamics of the wreck in real-time. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Responder feeds out air umbilicals to a diver in the water at the Golden Ray wreck site. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Dive supervisor communicates with a diver in the water at the Golden Ray wreck site. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.



Responder assists the diver in removing helmet after underwater operations at the Golden Ray wreck site. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

The 150-yard safety zone around the EPB 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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  • 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

KEY INFORMATION