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Update: Cutting and lifting operations for the first section of the Golden Ray wreck to begin today

BRUNSWICK, Ga — Cutting and lifting operations for the first section of the Golden Ray wreck will begin today, pending weather conditions and a safety reevaluation. The Unified Command (UC) estimates cutting will take 24 hours.

Responders will monitor sound levels at the wreck site, St. Simons Island Pier and Jekyll Island Pier. Oil and debris recovery and firefighting assets will be on station as a part of a multi-layer protection system to ensure the safety of responders and the public and mitigate potential environmental threats. For a series of videos detailing each aspect of the removal operation, please go to

“We expect there will be noise, fires, product discharges, and debris once we begin the cutting and lifting process. It would be unrealistic to say that this operation will be clean and perfect,” said State On-scene Coordinator John Maddox of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, “We installed a multi-layer environmental protection system and have practiced prevention and response strategies for several months. We are prepared to protect the community and environment of 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 steer clear of the perimeter. Officials prohibit any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the wrecksite. 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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