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VB-10000 undergoes final preparations to cut the next section of the Golden Ray.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The VB-10000 moved into position over Section Eight of the Golden Ray wreck to undergo final preparations for cutting operations. The previously removed bow section began its transit to a recycling facility in Louisiana aboard the Barge JULIE B.

Removal Update

A responder descends to the top of the wreck of the Golden Ray to assist with attaching the VB-10000 lifting blocks to lifting lugs on Section Eight, the stern. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

The crew of the Tug CHEETAH receive a mooring line during an operation to reposition and secure the VB-10000 over the cut line for Section Eight. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Section One of the wreck of the Golden Ray departs St. Simons Sound, Ga. with vehicles secured inside the section and on the deck of the Barge JULIE B enroute to a recycling facility in Gibson, La. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Divers completed the drilling of additional drainage holes along the stern of the Golden Ray on Monday. Responders moved the VB-10000 into position over Section Eight and began final preparations for cutting operations which include securing the heavy-lift vessel in place, attaching the lifting blocks to the lifting lugs on the section and rigging the cutting apparatus.

Section One of the Golden Ray began transiting to a recycling facility in Louisiana on Tuesday onboard the Barge JULIE B. Once the recycling facility receives Section One, the barge will return to Brunswick, Ga. and standby to receive Section Two.

Health and Safety Update

One responder, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, expects to return to work after being cleared by the response medical unit. Personnel critical to wreck removal operations remain unaffected and sequestered at Epworth by the Sea.

While at the response, personnel continue to follow guidance to limit exposure to COVID-19 which includes face coverings, safe distancing and remote working when possible, daily temperature checks for all members and continuous disinfection of facilities and platforms. All incoming personnel are mandated to sequester and receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to working. Response sequestration, quarantine and isolation protocols were developed in consultation with a local department of health epidemiologist and follow CDC guidelines.

Environmental Update

An example of debris recovered near the Environmental Protection Barrier by an on-water pollution observation and mitigation team.

An example of debris recovered on the shoreline of Jekyll Island during a daily shoreline assessment. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders clean marine growth off of protective boom near Cedar Creek. The response maintains strategically-placed protective boom at sensitive locations around St. Simons Sound. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.

Responders continue to observe and recover light oil sheens and pieces of debris, some oiled, within the proximity of the wreck and at the shoreline. If the public encounters what they believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not disturb the debris and call the Debris Reporting Hotline at (912) 944-5620. Responders evaluate each report, survey the vicinity and recover any shipwreck debris in addition to their daily surveys of the water and the shoreline.

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 (EPB), 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 150-yard safety zone around the EPB is increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The UC advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter. Any unauthorized usage of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the wreck site is prohibited. 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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