BRUNSWICK, Ga - The VB-10000 began cutting operations of the bow section of the wreck of the Golden Ray at approximately 11:30 am on Friday.
Approximately 25 hours into the cut, the cutting chain broke. There were no injuries or damage to the VB-10000. Responders retrieved the chain and repaired the broken link while also inspecting the chain for any additional fatigue. They resumed cutting operations thereafter.
“The cutting process was carefully engineered and modeled, but it remains a highly complex operation. This is the first of seven cuts. During each cut we will continue fine-tuning our cutting parameters, including speed and tension of the chain, to improve its efficiency” said Deputy Incident Commander Tom Wiker of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Though the cut is taking longer than expected, we’re gaining valuable knowledge that will guide the rest of this operation.”
Unified Command is closely monitoring approaching inclement weather and will implement appropriate plans based on the changing forecast.
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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The VB-1000 cuts into the wreck of the Golden Ray. The operation is surrounded by a 1 mile long Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB). St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
400 feet of chain is used to saw through the hull of the wreck of the Golden Ray. Each link of the chain is 1.5 feet in length and weighs over 80 pounds. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.
Response vessels positioned outside of the Environmental Protection Barrier create a layered defense against any pollution released from the wreck. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.