3rd cut begins on Golden Ray

The Barge 455-8 receives Section 8, the stern of the Golden Ray wreck. (St. Simons Sound Incident Response photo)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Salvage crews began a third cut into the cargo ship Golden Ray on Wednesday morning.

The bow and stern of the 656-foot car carrier that overturned leaving the Port of Brunswick in September 2019 have already been cut off, lifted and removed. The two sections of the ship will be transported by barge to Gibson, Louisiana, for dismantling and recycling.

An 80-pound anchor chain operated by a heavy lifting crane is tearing through the hull, cutting the ship into massive slices. The next section to go is Section 7, cutting right through the engine room.

The St. Simons Incident Response said each section weighs between 2,700-4,100 tons. After the cut, the crane lifts the section onto a barge.

“Safety is our number one priority as we begin removing the next section of the Golden Ray wreck,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator, “We are using extraordinary methods and machinery to ensure the safety of the public, the responders and the environment. We appreciate the support from the community and urge them to heed our safety messages.”

Responders said they are monitoring sound levels at the St. Simons Island Pier and the Jekyll Island Pier. Nearby residents may notice an increase in sound levels during cutting operations.

There is a 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier around the shipwreck, which has been increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels after a petroleum substance leaked when during work earlier this month.

The Unified Command is advising boaters to steer clear of the perimeter.

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