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Shoreline clean-up and oil recovery continues

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Response vessels continue to recover oil while shoreline teams continue to mitigate shoreline impacts on Wednesday.

Wreck removal personnel partially raised Section Six on Wednesday morning. The Salvage master paused the lifting operation to allow oil recovery personnel to recover an oil discharge that began to pool inside of retention boom around the section using oil skimmers and a floating vacuum that pumped oil into containment tanks on a nearby work barge. Some oil entrained beyond the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) and approximately 30 vessels responded.

“We are executing very controlled lifts of Section Six in order to recover any oil that discharges from the section without overwhelming our multi-layered mitigation system,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Removing this section will take time and we appreciate the patience and support of the community as we move forward.”

Lifting operations will be limited to conditions that are safe and favorable for the mitigation of any potential oil discharges. Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck remains connected to the VB-10000. The section will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge once it is safe to do so.

Approximately 80 personnel split into several shoreline clean-up teams are using various clean-up techniques to mitigate oiled shorelines along the southern edge of St. Simons Island from Massengale Park to west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Island and on the northside of Jekyll Island. The teams use a variety of techniques from hand tools and bags to collect oiled sand to sphagnum moss and sorbent pads to treat oiled marsh grasses. 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.

A wildlife assessment team from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division observed a small number of oiled juvenile Royal terns during a survey of Bird Island on Wednesday. The team did not attempt to recover the terns because they were mobile and did not show signs of injury. During the same survey, a shoreline assessment team did not observe any signs of oil on the island. Responders will continue to monitor the island for any oil impacts or wildlife impacts. Wildlife rehabilitation specialists are standing by to treat any oiled wildlife that can be safely recovered. The assessment teams will continue to survey marsh areas and beaches throughout St. Simons Sound for any potentially impacted shorelines or wildlife impacts. If you encounter any oiled wildlife, do not attempt to capture it and report any sightings of oiled wildlife by calling (800) 261-0980.

If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

An oil recovery team uses a floating vacuum attachment connected to green containers to pump out oil that discharged from Section Six during lifting operations on Wednesday. The VB-10000 lowered the section back into the water to allow for controlled oil recovery operations. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Multiple response vessels standby as a rainbow sheen approaches the Current Buster at the EPB apex on Wednesday. Response teams recover oil from the Current Buster while it is deployed using vessels equipped with pumps and containment tanks. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team applies another treatment of sphagnum moss to oiled marsh grass west of Wylie Street public beach access on Wednesday after an oil discharge impacted the area on Saturday. Sphagnum moss treatment operations can take several days depending on the size of the impacted area. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team off loads multiple bags of sphagnum moss treatment to assist clean up operations west of Wylie Street public beach access on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Several shoreline clean-up teams bag oiled sand, remove oil using sorbents and coat oiled riprap with sphagnum moss west of Wylie Street public beach access on St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A shoreline clean-up team recovers oil globules from marsh grass and applies sphagnum moss treatment to riprap near the entrance of Clam Creek on the north end of Jekyll Island on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

A wildlife and shoreline assessment team surveys for any wildlife impacts and searches the riprap around Bird Island for any oil impacts on Wednesday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

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 motor vessel Golden Ray response operations.

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