Salvage crews start last cut of Golden Ray demolition

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

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Salvage crews Monday began cutting apart the final two sections that remain of a cargo ship the overturned along the coast of Georgia nearly two years ago.

Demolition of the South Korean freighter Golden Ray has been underway since November, when workers began using a towering crane straddling the shipwreck to cut it into eight giant sections — using anchor chain to tear through the hull like a blunt-edged saw.

The sixth mammoth piece was loaded onto a barge and removed less the two weeks ago, following days of delay when the newly severed segment began gushing oil that spilled into surrounding waters and fouled nearby marshes and beach on St. Simons Island.

The final cut to separate the remainder of the ship into its final two sections began Monday, the multi-agency command overseeing the demolition said in a news release. It said shoreline response teams are still spreading an absorbent material made from peat moss to soak up oil from marsh grasses.

It’s unknown how long the final cut will take. Prior cuts have required several days or even several weeks to complete.

The Golden Ray had more than 4,200 cars and vehicles inside its cargo decks when it capsized on Sept. 8, 2019, shortly after departing the Port of Brunswick. The entire crew was rescued safely.

All cutaway segments of the ship have been loaded onto barges for transport to a scrapyard in Louisiana.