BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Shoreline clean-up teams recovered oil from beaches along the south end of St. Simons Island on Sunday. Response managers expect several days of clean-up operations. Local health officials urge beach-goers to be vigilant.
Shoreline assessment teams identified a band of oil material that contacted marsh grasses, riprap and beach sand stretching from just south of King Creek to the Neptune Road public beach access on St. Simons Island. Currently, approximately 50 personnel split into several teams are using various clean-up techniques from hand tools and bags to contain oiled sand to sphagnum moss and sorbent pads. Sphagnum moss safely coats marsh grasses to reduce the likelihood for any oil to transfer to wildlife in an affected area. Assessment teams have not observed any injured or oiled wildlife.
“We are very concerned about the impacted shorelines and have several clean up teams deployed using multiple techniques to remove oil from the beaches,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “We urge the public to use beaches with caution if they are near an affected area.”
Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck remains connected to the VB-10000 and approximately 25 response vessels equipped with oil skimmers, Current Busters and sorbent material removed oil from the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) and mitigated oil sheens in the vicinity of the wreck site. The section will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge once it is safe to do so.
If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.
A shoreline clean-up team uses hand tools to gather oiled sand for removal from a section of beach near Wylie Street public beach access on Sunday.
Clean-up teams filled several bags of oiled sand near Wylie Street public beach access point on Sunday prior to transporting them to a response decontamination facility where they will be weighed and contained for disposal.
A shoreline clean-up team removes oil material from the beach near 9th Street public beach access on Sunday.
A shoreline clean-up team removes oil material from the beach near Cedar Street public beach access on Sunday.
A response vessel crew removes oil from a Current Buster attached to the east apex of the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) on Sunday. The oil will be transported to a response facility for safe processing and recycling.
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. Natural Resource Advisors continue to monitor areas around the wreck site and the Environmental Protection Barrier for any wildlife activity or impacts. 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.