Crews begin cutting next section of Golden Ray

Half of the ship has officially left the St. Simons Sound

Crews have started cutting the next section of the Golden Ray. The ship has been capsized in the St. Simons Sound since September 2019. News4Jax Reporter Brittany Muller spoke with a St. Simons Island native about the impacts the removal has on the area.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Crews have started cutting the next section of the Golden Ray, which capsized in the St. Simons Sound in September 2019.

Responders said they started the fifth of seven total cuts of the removal process.

“The Golden Ray has kind of worn out its welcome here,” said St. Simons Island native Andy Jones.

Jones provides snapshots of the removal process on his YouTube page, the Minorcan Mullet, during his daily rides to see the Golden Ray.

“Let people understand what it really takes and actually the sacrifices that have to be made by the community while something like this is going on,” said Jones.

Jones said those sacrifices are the pollution and debris. It’s a massive operation -- from the machinery and manpower.

“The process is taking a little bit longer than originally pitched. The community was sold on a 24-hour cut deal that they were going to get through it,” Jones said. “That is not the case at all.”

This September will mark two years since the ship overturned. The operations have been filled with delays. It has been a spectacle. Jones said it has even driven tourism.

“To me, the most amazing part is when the sections are lifted and placed onto the barges and moved away from the site,” said Jones. “Just to see that huge piece separated.”

With the ship open on both ends, Jones is hoping for rapid removal.

“The tidal influence going in and out of the ship twice a day, it has a big influence on the ecosystem here in this estuary,” he said.

The latest section of the ship left Brunswick earlier in the week to head to a recycling plant in Louisiana, meaning half of the ship has officially left the St. Simons Sound for good. Once it’s all gone, there will still be work that needs to be done.

A section of the Golden Ray wreck is lifted during removal operations. (St. Simons Sound Incident ResponseThe VB-10000 lifts Section Seven of Golden Ray wreck during removal operations on Monday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.)

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