Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 15

Date: 9.26.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122


The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC) continues to pump and transfer fuel from the Golden Ray’s fuel tanks into a barge to prevent further discharges and prepare for the safe removal of the vessel. Response personnel are actively monitoring the shoreline and are prepared to respond to impacts from fuel released by the vessel. More than 350 responders are working within the UC and more than 70 vessels are engaged in the response.


“While substantial progress has been made this week, we are only in the beginning of what will likely be a long and complex salvage operation,” said Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Our top priorities are to protect responders, public health, safety, and limit environmental impacts.”


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION


Response teams are continuing environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas and cleanup personnel and equipment are staged and ready to respond to any recoverable oil. Containment boom  is being used to protect environmentally sensitive marsh habitats. The UC is working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. Members of the public should not touch oil or attempt to rescue oiled birds or wildlife. They should instead report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980.


VESSEL OPERATIONS


Lightering operations to limit the potential of further release of pollution from the vessel began on Wednesday.  Response crews are continuously skimming oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room.


PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY


Specialists are actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website for additional information.


ECONOMIC


Commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick continues to move under a restricted navigation area order. A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.