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

REMOVAL UPDATE

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.

“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.”

The VB-10000 entered a refitting period on Sunday to prepare for the final cutting operation to separate the two remaining sections of the wreck.

A weight-shedding team uses a Fuchs MHL390 material handler with a multi-tine attachment to remove vehicles as required from Section Six on Tuesday to reduce the overall weight of the section and ensure safe lifting operations. Approximately 200 vehicles and one loose deck were safely removed during the operation. St. Simons Sound Incident response video by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeremy Wilbanks.

A work barge outfitted with several fire monitors flushes sediment out of Section Six using seawater during weight-shedding operations on Thursday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Assisted by the Tug Caitlin, the Tugs Crosby Star and Kurt J Crosby tow a dry-dock barge towards the Golden Ray wreck site on Friday. The barge is equipped with custom fabricated cradles which are welded to the section after it is placed on the barge. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Multiple response vessels remain on-station to mitigate any oil discharges that potentially appear beyond the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) as tugs tow a dry-dock barge into the wreck site on Friday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeremy Wilbanks.

Response vessels recover an oil discharge using a Current Buster and fire monitors in the vicinity of the wreck site during lifting operations on Friday. The seawater from the fire monitors pushes the edge of the oil in a favorable direction to keep it pooled which makes the oil easier to recover; the technique is called “herding.” St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A dry-dock barge slips underneath Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday and departs with the section on Saturday after wreck removal personnel secured it for transit. The barge is equipped with containment capabilities to capture any fluids that discharge from the section. St. Simons Sound Incident response video by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeremy Wilbanks.

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

Multiple tugs move a dry-dock barge loaded with Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal on Saturday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

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


The 150-yard safety zone around the EPB is increased to 200 yards for any non-response vessel not transiting inside the shipping channel. The Unified Command (UC) advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter to ensure the safety of our responders and the public. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs) around the wreck site and near response facilities is discouraged due to safety. UAVs are distractions that can lead to near misses, mishaps and injuries. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.

ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE

Wildlife specialists with Tri-state Bird Rescue and Research, the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources release several rehabilitated Royal Tern chicks on Bird Island. The releases occurred during multiple visits last week and each tern was safely tagged to aid in identification during future wildlife surveys in the area. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.

A shoreline clean-up team installs a temporary fence lined with sorbent material to capture any floating residual oil during tidal cycles near the Wylie Street public beach access on Tuesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team removes oiled sand on a beach near Gould’s Inlet on Tuesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. (TSBRR) in coordination with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR), successfully rehabilitated and released 10 healthy Royal Tern chicks which were banded by GA DNR and returned to the Royal Tern colony on Bird Island during multiple visits within the past week. TSBRR captured 20 oiled Royal Tern chicks on Bird Island on August 7 and the birds were immediately transported to the primary care center in South Carolina. Regretfully, the remaining chicks that did not make it to release either succumbed during transit to the primary care center, during care, or were euthanized due to medical issues discovered on admittance and had a very poor prognosis for recovery.

"Several factors including the age of the chicks, the amount of time they had been oiled prior to capture, and the delicate nature of the species contributed to the challenge of successfully rehabilitating and safely releasing these young birds back into the wild,” said Oil Programs Manager Michelle Knapp of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc.

Wildlife assessment teams continue to survey marsh areas and beaches throughout St. Simons Sound for any potential wildlife impacts. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report any sightings of oiled wildlife by calling (800) 261-0980.

Approximately 80 personnel split into several shoreline clean-up teams are using various clean-up techniques to mitigate oiled shorelines along the southern edge of St. Simons Island from Gould’s Inlet to west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island and on the northside of Jekyll Island. The teams use a variety of techniques from hand tools and bags to collect oiled sand to sphagnum moss and sorbent pads to treat oiled marsh grasses. Shoreline assessment teams continue to survey beaches and shorelines for any additional impacts. If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

Beaches remain open to the public and the Department of Health urges beach-goers to remain vigilant. For current beach and fishing safety information, please visit the Georgia Coast Health District website at the Georgia Coast Health District website.

Survey teams continue to recover debris along shorelines and from marsh areas in the vicinity of the wreck site. All debris is sorted, catalogued and disposed of according to the response debris plan. If you encounter what you believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not handle the debris. 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.

On-water response teams maintain a 24-hour watch around the Golden Ray and they deploy pre-staged equipment and personnel to mitigate any oil discharges, sheens and debris observed. To learn more about the response on-water oil recovery program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – On-Water Oil Recovery Operations

Safety personnel continue to measure air quality in the community using stationary and mobile air monitoring equipment. Community air quality analysis and water sample analysis continues to confirm no exceedances of air and water quality standards. To learn more about the Air and Water quality monitoring program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – Air and Water Quality Monitoring

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, at the shoreline and on the water around the Golden Ray shipwreck. Responders are maintaining protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the Golden Ray wreck removal and response operations.

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

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

REMOVAL UPDATE

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 VB-10000 began to shift on Sunday into a position to allow for a weight-shedding team to remove vehicles and any moveable decks from the section as required to reduce its overall weight. The section will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge once it is safe to do so.

“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.”

Approximately 30 pollution response vessels remain at the wreck site to monitor for and mitigate any oil.

The VB-10000 moves Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck on Sunday 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.

The 150-yard safety zone around the EPB is increased to 200 yards for any non-response vessel not transiting inside the shipping channel. The Unified Command (UC) advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter to ensure the safety of our responders and the public. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs) around the wreck site and near response facilities is discouraged due to safety. UAVs are distractions that can lead to near misses, mishaps and injuries. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.

ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE

Dan Wilson of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research releases a laughing gull on a beach near Jekyll Island fishing pier on Sunday. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.

A shoreline clean-up team removes oiled sand from the shoreline west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island, Ga. on Friday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team sprays a sphagnum moss coating on oiled marsh grass near the Frederica River in the vicinity of the Golden Ray wreck on Saturday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team spray sphagnum moss onto oiled marsh grass west of Wylie Street public beach access on Sunday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Wildlife rehabilitation specialists safely recovered 20 oiled juvenile Royal terns from Bird Island on Saturday and transported them to a rehabilitation center in South Carolina for further treatment. The terns were observed during a survey on Wednesday by wildlife experts from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division and Natural Resource Advisors with the response. A laughing gull was released near Jekyll Island fishing pier on Sunday after rehabilitation at a wildlife center in South Carolina last week. Wildlife assessment teams continue to survey marsh areas and beaches throughout St. Simons Sound for any potential wildlife impacts. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report any sightings of oiled wildlife by calling (800) 261-0980.

Approximately 80 personnel split into several shoreline clean-up teams are using various clean-up techniques to mitigate oiled shorelines along the southern edge of St. Simons Island from Gould’s Inlet to west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island and on the northside of Jekyll Island. The teams use a variety of techniques from hand tools and bags to collect oiled sand to sphagnum moss and sorbent pads to treat oiled marsh grasses. Shoreline assessment teams continue to survey beaches and shorelines for any additional impacts. If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

Beaches remain open to the public and the Department of Health urges beach-goers to remain vigilant. For current beach and fishing safety information, please visit the Georgia Coast Health District website at the Georgia Coast Health District website.

Survey teams continue to recover debris along shorelines and from marsh areas in the vicinity of the wreck site. All debris is sorted, catalogued and disposed of according to the response debris plan. If you encounter what you believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not handle the debris. 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.

On-water response teams maintain a 24-hour watch around the Golden Ray and they deploy pre-staged equipment and personnel to mitigate any oil discharges, sheens and debris observed. To learn more about the response on-water oil recovery program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – On-Water Oil Recovery Operations

Safety personnel continue to measure air quality in the community using stationary and mobile air monitoring equipment. Community air quality analysis and water sample analysis continues to confirm no exceedances of air and water quality standards. To learn more about the Air and Water quality monitoring program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – Air and Water Quality Monitoring

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, at the shoreline and on the water around the Golden Ray shipwreck. Responders are maintaining protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the Golden Ray wreck removal and response operations.

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

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Response vessels continue to recover oil while shoreline teams continue to mitigate shoreline impacts on Wednesday.

Wreck removal personnel partially raised Section Six on Wednesday morning. The Salvage master paused the lifting operation to allow oil recovery personnel to recover an oil discharge that began to pool inside of retention boom around the section using oil skimmers and a floating vacuum that pumped oil into containment tanks on a nearby work barge. Some oil entrained beyond the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) and approximately 30 vessels responded.

“We are executing very controlled lifts of Section Six in order to recover any oil that discharges from the section without overwhelming our multi-layered mitigation system,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Removing this section will take time and we appreciate the patience and support of the community as we move forward.”

Lifting operations will be limited to conditions that are safe and favorable for the mitigation of any potential oil discharges. Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck remains connected to the VB-10000. The section will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge once it is safe to do so.

Approximately 80 personnel split into several shoreline clean-up teams are using various clean-up techniques to mitigate oiled shorelines along the southern edge of St. Simons Island from Massengale Park to west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island and on the northside of Jekyll Island. The teams use a variety of techniques from hand tools and bags to collect oiled sand to sphagnum moss and sorbent pads to treat oiled marsh grasses. Beaches remain open to the public and the Department of Health urges beach-goers to remain vigilant. For current beach and fishing safety information, please visit the Georgia Coast Health District website at the Georgia Coast Health District website.

A wildlife assessment team from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division observed a small number of oiled juvenile Royal terns during a survey of Bird Island on Wednesday. The team did not attempt to recover the terns because they were mobile and did not show signs of injury. During the same survey, a shoreline assessment team did not observe any signs of oil on the island. Responders will continue to monitor the island for any oil impacts or wildlife impacts. Wildlife rehabilitation specialists are standing by to treat any oiled wildlife that can be safely recovered. The assessment teams will continue to survey marsh areas and beaches throughout St. Simons Sound for any potentially impacted shorelines or wildlife impacts. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report any sightings of oiled wildlife by calling (800) 261-0980.

If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

An oil recovery team uses a floating vacuum attachment connected to green containers to pump out oil that discharged from Section Six during lifting operations on Wednesday. The VB-10000 lowered the section back into the water to allow for controlled oil recovery operations. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Multiple response vessels standby as a rainbow sheen approaches the Current Buster at the EPB apex on Wednesday. Response teams recover oil from the Current Buster while it is deployed using vessels equipped with pumps and containment tanks. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team applies another treatment of sphagnum moss to oiled marsh grass west of Wylie Street public beach access on Wednesday after an oil discharge impacted the area on Saturday. Sphagnum moss treatment operations can take several days depending on the size of the impacted area. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team off loads multiple bags of sphagnum moss treatment to assist clean up operations west of Wylie Street public beach access on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Several shoreline clean-up teams bag oiled sand, remove oil using sorbents and coat oiled riprap with sphagnum moss west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team recovers oil globules from marsh grass and applies sphagnum moss treatment to riprap near the entrance of Clam Creek on the north end of Jekyll Island on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A wildlife and shoreline assessment team surveys for any wildlife impacts and searches the riprap around Bird Island for any oil impacts on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

On-water response teams maintain a 24-hour watch around the Golden Ray and they deploy pre-staged equipment and personnel to mitigate any oil discharges, sheens and debris observed. To learn more about the response on-water oil recovery program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – On-Water Oil Recovery Operations

Safety personnel continue to measure air quality in the community using stationary and mobile air monitoring equipment. Community air quality analysis and water sample analysis continues to confirm no exceedances of air and water quality standards. To learn more about the Air and Water quality monitoring program, watch this video Subject Matter Expert Overview – Air and Water Quality Monitoring

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, at the shoreline and on the water around the Golden Ray shipwreck. Responders are maintaining protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound.

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/subscribe

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  • Public Information Inquiries:  912-944-7122

  • 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]

KEY INFORMATION