BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Cutting operations to separate the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck into two sections commenced Monday. Once the final cut is complete, each section will be lifted onto a dry-dock barge and stowed for transit out of St. Simons Sound.
Wreck removal personnel began cutting operations early Monday morning after completing a refit and maintenance period. Once the remainder of the wreck is separated into two sections, the VB-10,000 will lift Section Five onto a dry-dock barge for safe transit out of St. Simons Sound to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal. Section Four, the final section, will be lifted, stowed and transited following the same process as Section Five.
A weight-shedding team removed 59 vehicles from Section Five. Weight-shedding operations use multiple strategies to reduce the overall weight of a section of the wreck and ensure a safe lifting operation.
The VB-10000 cycles grade 5 anchor chain along the pre-cut groove during cutting operations to separate the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck into two sections on Monday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
A weight-shedding team uses a blue Fuchs materials handler to remove vehicles from Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Wreck removal personnel inspect the wires and blocks in the VB-10000 cutting apparatus on Tuesday during preparations for the final cutting operation. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
U.S. Coast Guard personnel from Marine Safety Unit Savannah and the St. Simons Sound Incident response inspect Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck near a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
The blue-hulled SKIPPER T vessel conducts a routine hydrographic survey of the wreck site on Saturday. Response engineers and pollution response teams use hydrographic surveys to analyze the sea floor and identify any accumulations of debris at the wreck site. 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.
A responder uses a net to recover a piece of debris from the water in the vicinity of the wreck site on Saturday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
An assessment team scans the high tide wrack line for any potential debris and oiled material during a routine shoreline survey near Overview Beach Park along Jekyll Island on Sunday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
A response vessel tows a section of retention boom to a response maintenance facility on Thursday during boom maintenance operations at geographic response strategy (GRS) sites in the vicinity of the Golden Ray wreck site . St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Technicians inspect and clean a Current Buster inside a containment pool at a response maintenance facility on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Michelle Knapp of Tri-state Bird Rescue and Research, Inc. releases a rehabilitated laughing gull chick on Bird Island in the St. Simons Sound on Aug.15. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.
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.
Shoreline clean-up teams continue to apply sphagnum moss treatment to several areas of previously oiled marsh grass along the southwestern edge of St. Simons Island. Sphagnum moss is an organic adsorbent coating that adheres to oil and promotes the natural breakdown process of any oil while minimizing any oil transfer to wildlife and preserving the grass rhizomes. 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.
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.
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.
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.