Cars tumble out of Golden Ray as ship cut into pieces

Coast Guard says teams monitor for environmental damage, collect vehicle parts

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Salvage operations of the massive Golden Ray ship from St. Simons Sound continue as part of the response team concentrates on the environmental impact.

As a massive crane continues to use a massive chain to slice through the solid steel hull of the car carrier that overturned while sailing out of the Port of Brunswick in September 2019, video shared by Incident Response shows responders releasing a rehabilitated laughing gull that was found in an oil collection device.

“What truly makes this response unique and different is that this particular ship lies in an environmentally sensitive body of water with lots of marsh and coastline surrounding it and it’s right next to a vital shipping channel for the state of Georgia,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Himes said.

Another section of the shipwreck is on a barge making its way to a Louisiana recycling plant while crews use a new cutting chain into the grove to cut off another piece of the ship -- one closest to the engine room. What lies underneath the ship is another concern.

Video posted on TikTok shows cars in the belly of the ship tumbling onto the seafloor after one of the previous cuts.

“We anticipate the majority (of the cars) to be removed after the wreck is removed,” Himes said. “However, there may be opportunities for our teams to safely go in there and remove debris when possible.”

Himes says the cars are sitting in the protection barrier and teams on the water and shoreline are monitoring and recovering debris, including vehicle parts.

Because the Port of Brunswick has some of the highest tide ranges on the East Coast, lots of water moves in and out daily, so crews are monitoring for any oil that escapes that protection barrier.


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