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UPDATE: Critical responders are sequestered and begin ramping up removal operations

ST. SIMONS, Ga — Critical salvage responders began ramping up operations this week inside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) to remove the Golden Ray wreck. Cutting operations are projected to start in October.

The first wave of what will be approximately 100 critical response personnel are sequestered at a shoreside lodging facility under strict health safety protocols throughout cutting and lifting operations. The personnel conduct daily health safety checks and are to have zero interaction with responders and the public outside of their “bubble.” The facility is equipped with its own dock and transport vessels for safe transit to and from the wrecksite. Their primary function is to work inside the EPB on the VB 10,000 heavy lift crane and on all of the large debris removal cranes, barges and vessels.

“Our planning and logistics personnel have worked non-stop the last few months implementing this bubble so that our personnel most critical to cutting and lifting operations can work safely and efficiently,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “It’s imperative that we work with minimal interruptions once we start cutting. This is an unprecedented removal operation with extreme environmental conditions.”

The Golden Ray wreck remains stable and is monitored continuously by sensors at the wrecksite and during hydrographic surveys around the EPB. An environmental unit conducts shoreline assessments throughout the week and pollution response teams continue to monitor the wreck site. No emergent environmental impacts have been observed.

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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For a series of videos detailing each aspect of the response, please go to


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