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Section Five removal continues

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The VB-10000 heavy lift vessel continues to hold Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck while the response engineering team modifies the cradle support system on the dry-dock barge. Once the cradle support system is ready, Section Five will be loaded onto the drydock and moved to a response facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal for further dismantling.


On Friday, the salvage master and the response engineers surveyed the condition of Section Five and prescribed modifications to the cradle support system for the dry-dock barge set to receive the section. The M/V Golden Ray sustained damage when it capsized and listed into a sand bar in 2019. The cradle support system will ensure the section remains stable for transit to a response facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal. The section will be partially dismantled at the facility.

“The removal plan accounted for possible damage to both Section Five and Section Four,” said wreck removal project manager and naval architect Matt Cooke of T&T Salvage. “We are constantly adapting and modifying our approach based on the latest information we receive from the wreck site. The salvage master’s observations are a vital component to the overall engineering process.”

A weight-shedding team removed 226 vehicles from Section 5 last week. In addition to ensuring a safe lift of the section, weight-shedding also increases the safety of dismantling operations. Any sunken debris that remains inside the Environmental Protection Barrier will be removed after the wreck sections are removed.

A closeup image of the damage and deformations to Section Five observed by the salvage master and response engineers on Friday. The M/V Golden Ray sustained the damage during capsizing and listing into the sand bar in the fall of 2019. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Several vehicles are stowed on a containment barge during weight-shedding operations or Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck on Friday. The vehicles are then transloaded onto container trucks and sent to a local auto recycling facility. 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.


Carly Costello of Tri-state Bird Rescue and Research releases a rehabilitated Laughing Gull on Thursday. The gull treated for an injury and for oiling at a rehabilitation facility in South Carolina. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.

A shoreline clean-up team reapplies sphagnum moss on oiled marsh grass after vegetation cutting on Thursday. As the oil weathers naturally, the treatments reduce any potential transferability to wildlife. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean up team recovers freshly deposited oil on the sand near Wylie Street public beach access on Thursday. Shoreline clean-up teams focus on oil recovery which allows shoreline assessment teams to continue routine surveys throughout the area. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A responder recovers a piece of debris in the vicinity of the wreck site on Tuesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

The Unified Command and the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources approved vegetation cutting as a treatment for small areas of marsh grass after more than five applications of sphagnum moss over a 10-day period in order to reduce the potential for any weathered oil transferring to wildlife. Wildlife assessment teams continue to survey marsh areas and beaches throughout St. Simons Sound for any potential wildlife impacts. Oiled wildlife sightings have been sporadic over the past month. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report any sightings of oiled wildlife by calling (800) 261-0980.

Shoreline assessment teams survey over 100 miles of shoreline and marsh areas weekly for any oil impacts. If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

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.

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.

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