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Section One cut nears completion, responders prepare for lifting operations

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Section One Cut nears completion and responders prepare for lifting operations to commence pending favorable conditions.

Removal Update

Responders continued cutting Section One of the Golden Ray wreck throughout the week and are nearing completion of the cut. Once favorable conditions allow, equipment standing by to lift and remove Section One will enter the Environmental Protection Barrier to receive the section.

Section One of the Golden Ray removal separates slightly as the cut nears completion. St Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders guide the untensioned cutting chain out of the cut groove in order to conduct a routine chain inspection on the deck of the VB-10000. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Health and Safety Update

Responders continue to report sightings of drones and small aircraft over the wreck site along with recreational vessels in or near the safety zone. “We understand that the community is eager to see this section of the Golden Ray lifted and removed from the sound but this is a very active work site with many simultaneous crane and vessel operations,” said Incident Commander Tom Wiker, Gallagher Marine Systems. “Please do not distract our responders as they focus on critical response operations. Our safety zones in the water and in the air are in place to protect them and the community.”

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.

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

Noise pollution during cutting increased Thursday night but remains low overall. Sound monitoring equipment at St. Simons Pier and Jekyll Island Pier did not register excessive noise levels.

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.

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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