Fifth cut on Golden Ray is progressing, some pollution occurs

The fifth cut through the hull of capsized car carrier Golden Ray was continuing to plan, but fuel oil spillage from the wreck remained a concern, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Photos provided by the Unified Command showed that the cutting chain had reached the turn of the bilge. As during previous stages, the operations team paused during the cut for an inspection and overhaul process, replacing the wires in the rigging blocks used for cutting.

Oil globules and surface sheening escaped the containment boom structure that surrounds the wreck and spread across nearby waters of St. Simons Sound early this month.  

US Coast Guard spokesman Michael Himes told The Brunswick News that “when the current picks up, it is swift enough to pull the oil underneath the boom”.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Coastal Health District issued a warning to the public, cautioning swimmers and fishermen to watch out for oil near Jekyll Island and St Simons Island.

“As the cutting operations continue on the capsized motor vehicle carrier Golden Ray, occasional discharges of oil are occurring. Some of the oil is reaching the coastline in the form of small, sticky globules and may be encountered by individuals who are swimming or fishing,” the department’s Coastal Health District said.

The response command’s shoreline teams found and collected fresh globules of bunker fuel from both Jekyll and St. Simons Islands after the discharge. Their responders also found several patches of oiled marshland and spread sphagnum moss as an abatement measure.