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Cutting operations paused to conduct maintenance on the cutting apparatus.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders paused cutting operations on Section Seven on Saturday to conduct maintenance on the cutting apparatus. The Unified Command (UC) approved a weight-shedding plan for Section Two of the Golden Ray wreck.


Responders paused cutting operations late Saturday during a routine inspection and discovered wear on the wires used to cycle the cutting apparatus. Technicians will unreeve the blocks and replace the worn wires with replacement wire that is kept on-site. Technical experts estimate a two to four day pause to complete the maintenance work.

“Safety is the most important aspect of operations,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator, “Pausing to maintain the cutting apparatus ensures continued safety of our responders and the public. At the same time, our wreck removal experts will continue advance work on subsequent sections to facilitate their safe and timely removal and transport out of St. Simons Sound.”

The UC approved a Weight-Shedding Plan for Section Two in order to reduce the weight of the section prior to removal. The plan calls for the use of a Fuchs material-handling machine with a claw attachment to safely grab and remove vehicles and large debris from the exposed side of Section Two. Responders will stow removed debris on a containment barge directly adjacent to the section during the operation. Divers completed drilling drainage holes along Section Two Sunday.

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.


Responders rescued a brown pelican from a Current Buster on Sunday and transferred the bird into the care of experts from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research who are on-scene as a part of the response.

Responders have continued to monitor for and respond to any oil sheens in the vicinity of the Golden Ray wreck site and recover debris on the water and along the shoreline. The response environmental unit continues to collect water samples in the vicinity of the wreck site in accordance with the response Water Quality Sampling 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.

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

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.

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

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