Next-to-last cut begins on Golden Ray wreckage

The huge crane cycles the cutting apparatus on Thursday during operations to separate Section Six from the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck. (St. Simons Sound Incident response photo)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A giant crane began Thursday slicing section six of the giant shipwreck that has laid on its side in St. Simons Sound for nearly two years.

Once separated, this section will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge for transit to a response facility south of Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick.

Crews have been working since November demolishing the car-carrier ship that capsized in September 2019 as it sailed out of the Port of Brunswick.

The South Korean-owned Golden Ray capsized with more than 4,200 automobiles in its cargo decks shortly after departing the Port of Brunswick on Sept. 8, 2019. Investigators later concluded the ship tipped over because unstable loading had left its center of gravity too high.

A debris removal crew removed 46 vehicles and two moveable decks from areas adjacent to the wreck inside the Environmental Protection Barrier. The debris is stowed on a barge and will be off-loaded and trucked to local auto recycling facilities.

Three sections of the wreck remain inside the Environmental Protection Barrier.

Aerial view the Golden Ray wreck site on July 13, 2021. The remainder of the wreck is being cut into three sections and removed by dry-dock barges. (St. Simons Sound Incident response photo)

The 150-yard safety zone around the barrier was increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The Unified Command advises mariners to please steer clear of the perimeter to ensure the safety of our responders and the public.

Responders observed and mitigated very light oil sheens occasionally in the vicinity of the wreck site. Survey teams recovered a few oil globules during routine shoreline surveys. If you encounter residual oil on the shoreline or in the water, please call the National Response Center hotline at (800) 424-8802.

On-water response teams maintain a 24-hour watch around the Golden Ray and they deploy pre-staged equipment and personnel to mitigate any oil discharges, sheens and debris observed. Natural Resource Advisors continue to monitor areas around the wreck site and the Environmental Protection Barrier for any wildlife activity or impacts.

Survey teams assessed 125 miles of shoreline on foot and by boat this week. They continue to recover debris along shorelines and from marsh areas in the vicinity of the wreck site. All debris is sorted, cataloged and disposed of according to the response debris plan.

If you encounter what you believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not handle the debris. 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.

Safety personnel continues to measure air quality in the community using stationary and mobile air monitoring equipment. Community air quality analysis and water sample analysis will continue to confirm no exceedances of air and water quality standards.