BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Responders removed Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck on Sunday. One section of the wreck remains inside the Environmental Protection Barrier.
Wreck removal personnel lifted and secured Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck onto a dry-dock barge on Saturday and tug crews transited the barge to Mayor’s Point Terminal on Sunday. After inspection by the response engineering team, the section will be staged for partial dismantling at a local response facility.
“We are very proud of the tremendous effort to maintain safety by each member of the response team throughout the entire operation to lift and remove Section Five of the wreck,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “Even with the end of the wreck removal phase of this response in sight, we continue to prudently execute our safety, environmental protection and port function priorities.”
Crews aboard the VB-10000 heavy lift vessel began a maintenance period on Sunday in preparation for subsequent lifting operations. Prior to lifting Section Four, the final section of the wreck, two previously removed sections will be transloaded from dry-dock barges to the Barge Julie B by the VB-10000 and secured for transit to a recycling facility in Louisiana.
Response personnel monitor operations to lift and remove Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck from the air, water and aboard the VB-10000 on Saturday and Sunday. St. Simons Sound Incident response video.
Several response vessels monitor the wreck site on Saturday during operations to lift Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck onto a dry-dock barge. Each vessel is equipped with personnel and equipment ready recover any potential debris or oil. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Members of the response engineering team observe operations to lift Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck onto a dry-dock barge. The engineering team modified a cradle system using 3D modeling tools following a visual analysis by the Salvage Master during a test lift on Sep. 10. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
The Salvage Master surveys the orientation of the underside of Section Five and the cradle system during a pause in lifting operations on Saturday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
A welder cuts notches into the bilge keel along the hull-side of Section Five on Saturday in order to accommodate the support stanchions in the cradle system and ensure the section is secure for transit. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
The tugs Crosby Star, Caitlin and Kurt J. Crosby assist a dry-dock barge loaded with Section Five of the Golden Ray wreck to a local facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal on Sunday. One section of the wreck remains. 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.
Members of a response shoreline clean-up team remove oiled spartina grass stems on Thursday. Under the supervision of Jan MacKinnon, a wetlands biologist from the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, vegetation cutting is a treatment designed to preserve grass rhizomes while further reducing any potential oil transfer to wildlife after multiple applications of sphagnum moss. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Members of a response shoreline assessment team survey rip rap along the south end of St. Simons Island during a routine shoreline assessment on Thursday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
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 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, 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. Oiled wildlife sightings have been minimal over the past month. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report the sighting 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.