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Responders continue cutting operations on Section One of the Golden Ray wreck

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders continue cutting operations on Section One of the Golden Ray wreck.

Removal Update

The cutting of Section One has progressed through the keel, where thick, dense structural steel is located. After gathering data and modifying operations to increase cutting efficiency, engineers expect cutting to progress more quickly through the remainder of the section. Equipment to lift and remove Section One remains on standby.

The hull of the wreck of the Golden Ray shows the progress of the Section One cut. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Health and Safety Update

Responders continue to report sightings of drones over the wreck site along with recreational vessels in or near the safety zone. “Our crews are working under very challenging conditions. Recreational boats impeding the safety zone and drone activity in the area where our teams are actively working can be a distraction that leads to a mishap or injury,” said Incident Commander Tom Wiker, Gallagher Marine Systems. “We ask that people please respect the safety zones as they are in place for the safety of the public and responders”

Responders continue to diligently follow strict COVID-19 protocols in line with CDC guidelines and consistent with medical standards established by the Unified Command (UC).

Environmental Update

Responders show recovered debris typical to pieces recovered in the past week. St. Simons Sound Incident Photo.

Carly Costello of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. releases a decontaminated and rehabilitated Royal Tern on Jekyll Island, Ga. Responders recovered the lightly-oiled tern inside the Environmental Protection Barrier and safely transferred it to a regional wildlife facility for rehabilitation last week. St. Simons Sound Incident video.

Responders continue to recover small pieces of debris, some oiled, within the proximity of the wreck and at the shoreline. Light oil sheening continues to be observed adjacent to the wreck during the daily aerial and on-water surveys. If the public encounters what they believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not disturb 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.

Natural Resource Advisors removed the carcasses of a pelican and a gull from the Environmental Protection Barrier. The carcasses were not oiled.

Noise pollution during cutting operations remains low.

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 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 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier 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.

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