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Pollution response teams mitigate oil discharge

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Pollution response teams mitigated a significant discharge of oil from the Golden Ray wreck on Saturday. Multiple mitigation strategies are deployed inside and outside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB). Local health officials urge beach-goers to be vigilant.

During weight-shedding operations on Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck, a discharge of oil from the wreck occurred inside the EPB. Responders quickly deployed multiple pre-staged pollution mitigation assets such as Current Busters, oil skimmers and barrier and sorbent boom both inside and outside of the EPB. Aided by constant helicopter aerial observation, responders identified and adjusted on-water containment vessels to oil entraining underneath the EPB as it traveled westward on a flooding tide. As the tide ebbed, oil entrained under the barrier into the shipping channel alongside the south end of St. Simons Island passing the St. Simons Island fishing pier.

“We have all assets deployed and are moving quickly to contain any dense oil which migrated beyond the EPB with the shifting tides,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Our people have trained and equipment is prepared to ensure the protection of the people and environment of St. Simons Sound.”

Shoreline teams are actively surveying beaches along St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island and clean-up teams are standing by to quickly respond to any affected areas. If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

Response vessels utilize a Current Buster to collect oil entraining underneath the EPB. St. Simons Incident Response photo.

Response vessels are directed by helicopter to precisely collect oil which has entrained under the EPB. Response vessels such as these are a component of Unified Command’s multi-layer protection strategy. St. Simons Incident Response Photo.

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. Natural Resource Advisors continue to monitor areas around the wreck site and the Environmental Protection Barrier for any wildlife activity or impacts. 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.

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