BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders continue to make preparations prior to cutting the next section of the Golden Ray wreck, Section Eight, the stern. The Barge JULIE B prepares to transit to a recycling facility in Louisiana with Section One.

Removal Update

The Heavy-lift vessel VB-10000 moves into position over the Golden Ray wreck in preparation for the next cutting operation to remove Section Eight, the stern. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders continue to prepare Section Eight for removal and the VB-10000 will be moving into position this week for final mooring and rigging prior to commencing the next cutting operation.

Sea-fastening operations for Section One are complete aboard the Barge JULIE B. The barge will then transit to a recycling facility in Louisiana pending clearance by marine safety inspectors and favorable weather conditions. Once Section One is received by the recycling facility, the barge will return to Brunswick, Ga. and standby to receive Section Two.

Health and Safety Update

Six responders, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, will be returning to support the response after being cleared by the response medical unit. Though a few personnel remain in quarantine due to close contact with these responders, personnel critical to wreck removal operations remain unaffected and sequestered at Epworth by the Sea. Pollution monitoring and mitigation operations on the water and along the shoreline continue.

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


Responder recovers a piece of small debris in the vicinity of the Golden Ray wreck site. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders continue to observe and recover light oil sheens and small 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. - Responders continue to prepare to cut and lift Section Eight of the Golden Ray wreck. System maintenance between cutting and lifting operations ensures continued safety and efficiency throughout the entire wreck removal process.

A diver enters the water near the Golden Ray wreck to continue pre-drilling operations to weaken steel along the surface of a projected cut groove. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders at a geographically sensitive site on the Mackay River wash off biological growth that naturally accumulates along the skirts of protective boom. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A responder stages a new section of protective boom at Bird Island. Maintaining over 20,000 feet of protective boom at 20 sensitive areas is a continuous operation and is critical to ensuring optimal performance of the environmental protection system implemented by the response. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders inspect a section of protective boom at Clam Creek during low tide. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders on the VB-10000 level the lifting blocks in preparation for rigging to Section Eight, the stern of the Golden Ray wreck. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


An aerial diagram showing the wreck of the Golden Ray divided into sections with lifting lugs. After successfully lifting and removing Section One, Responders continue preparations to separate and lift Section Eight, the stern. 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. - Responders continue maintenance and assessment operations at the wreck site after removing Section One of the Golden Ray wreck. Response engineers continue preparations for the next cut.


Removal Update

Responders modify a VB-10000 lifting block after unreeving on a work barge. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


A technician works on a part of a VB-10000 lifting block. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Response engineers continue to implement a number of modifications to the cutting apparatus based on data collected during the first cut. These improvements require custom fabrication on-site and is estimated to continue for no less than two weeks. The engineers are confident that once implemented, cutting durations for the subsequent six cuts will significantly reduce and offset the time spent to implement.


Health and Safety Update

The two responders received positive test results for COVID-19 last week following which the response medical unit began contact tracing in accordance with the response medical safety plan. Several personnel are in quarantine due to close contact. The affected individuals are not part of the critical removal team who are sequestered separately at the Epworth by the Sea facility. Responders continue maintenance and assessment operations at the wreck site as well as pollution monitoring and mitigation operations on the water and along the shoreline.

“Safety of the public and our personnel is our highest priority. Our medical team is working swiftly and diligently to assess the situation while monitoring the health of our people that are in isolation and updating the Unified Command accordingly,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “We have made significant strides in mitigating COVID-19 exposure at the response, from sequestering our most critical personnel in a separate lodging facility to consistently updating and modifying our medical protocols with the latest safety guidance. This is the first instance of positive test results among hundreds of responders since late June and we are taking every measure to ensure there is no impact on the overall response.”

While at the response, personnel continue to diligently follow strict COVID-19 protocols in line with CDC guidelines and consistent with medical standards established by the Unified Command (UC) which include mandatory face coverings, safe distancing 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.

Environmental Update

Section One of the wreck of the Golden Ray on the barge JULIE B behind a hydraulic “grab” at response site on the East River in Brunswick, Ga. The grab will be used to remove large debris from inside the EPB when necessary. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.


Responders are conducting hydrographic surveys of the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) to inform debris removal operations. No marine mammal impacts have been observed in the EPB subsurface netting.

Responders continue to recover small 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 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 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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  • 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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