BRUNSWICK, Ga. – With what is likely to become Tropical Storm Humberto coming close to shore, the U.S. Coast Guard is taking steps so the Golden Ray, the 656-foot vehicle transport vessel that has been sitting on its side for five-days in the St. Simons Sound, doesn't move.
The Coast Guard says the Golden Ray is aground and stable where it sits, however, plans are in the works to make sure the cargo ship is secure ahead of the storm.
The Coast Guard's Unified Command is closely monitoring the tropical system. Authorities said current salvage plans and oil recovery operations are ongoing as responders prepare for the storm and its possible impacts on the Golden Ray.
"The real danger is it shifting side to side," Rod Sullivan, News4Jax Maritime expert, said.
Sullivan said the Coast Guard will be taking steps to ensure the 656-foot Golden Ray does not move from where it is now.
Coast Guard members told News4Jax it's looking into placing additional moorings to secure the vessel.
"The water that's in it, it's going to hold it in place to a certain extent, but if a hurricane gets bad enough they could overcome that and possibly move the ship into the channel," Sullivan said.
According to Camden County Emergency Management officials, Tropical Depression 9 may impact the county and southeast Georgia by Sunday by bringing up to 6 inches of rain and localized flooding.
News4Jax Meteorologist Richard Nunn said the storm will likely impact the region on Sunday and Monday with winds around 30 mph.
"Right now the waves have already been somewhat elevated because of the onshore flow, take that and couple this with what is already kind of a mini Nor'easter and now you're looking at waves anywhere from 5 to 7 feet with occasional 9‘s coming through," Nunn said. "Even with a boat that is 650-feet-long, there could be some jostling."
The Coast Guard's priority is the safety of the responders and recovering any contaminants that have entered the water as well as securing the vessel ahead of the storm.