BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Salvage crews are preparing to take a critical step in removing the wreckage from the Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound.
Environmentalists are concerned because crews will soon sever the capsized cargo ship’s fuel line. It’s estimated that 44,000 gallons of fuel may still be sitting inside the vessel.
Hundreds of vehicles are still aboard the vessel, which is why pieces of large debris are washing up along some beaches in the area.
″Every day we do a beach patrol. We recover debris off the beach whether it be melted plastic, car panels, stuff that floats, foam, insulation, the majority of that stuff is oiled,” said Fletcher Sams with the Althamaha Riverkeeper.
The Altamaha Riverkeeper has been monitoring the environmental effects since September 2019.
Responders conduct daily flights over the site of the wreck to ensure their booms are containing the pollution.
St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command plans on cutting through the fuel truck in the coming days, which environmentalists worry could end up releasing the largest amount of fuel into the St Simons Sound.
“We anticipate if there is that quantity of fuel that the large release will come when they lift the section versus cutting,” Sams said. “We did see some product on the water yesterday and we are anticipating when they progress to cut through the fuel truck that on the water fuel will increase over the next few days.”
Before each of the sections are hauled off by barges, they are being wrapped in high-strength netting to help contain the materials, including the vehicles.