Oil spill spotted at Golden Ray wreck site

Responders were cleaning up oil that spilled from the ‘Golden Ray’ after the wreck caught fire last month, and the removal process overall has taken much longer than expected. Most of the oil was removed from the ship early on, and there is always equipment set up to catch oil that comes from the wreck. But in the morning of June 1, officials saw that more oil had escaped from the barrier set up around the wreck. An aerial observation team was able to visually confirm what looked like ribbons of dark brown oil sheen. More than a dozen boats with equipment to soak up oil went out on the water, and crews put out additional gear near the shore, too. The amount of oil that spilled was not considered as major.

An oil spill at the site of the dismantling of the wreck of capsized car carrier Golden Ray has been reported by the Unified Command overseeing the removal of the wreck. UC said that personnel were working to mitigate the impact of the event.

The discharge occurred on Tuesday June 2nd during cutting operations on Section Three. The mitigation efforts are focused on the shoreline and in the vicinity of the wreck site.

Chain cycling operations had resumed on Tuesday after a routine inspection on Sunday prescribed maintenance to the rigging system of the cutting apparatus. Work to continue the cutting of the next section of the Golden Ray for removal to Louisiana and recycling had only resumed last Thursday after a near two-week hiatus because of a fire.

The Golden Ray came to rest on a sand bar in St Simons Sound, Georgia after departing the Port of Brunswick in September 2019 with 4,200 pre-owned vehicles on board. The eventual, and somewhat controversial at the time, strategy to deal with the wreck was to slice it into eight sections and, with the exception of section-by-section weight shedding, all vehicles have remained inside the wreck while each section was accessed and removed.

Separating each section has sometimes been relatively easy, sometimes very difficult. After the first “slicing” changes were made to the chain and to the preparations before chain-cutting commenced. After being separated from the main body, each individual section is lifted onto a barge, fastened, and transported to a recycling facility in Louisiana.

The 150-yard safety zone around the EPB (Environmental Protection Barrier) around the wreck has been increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels.

With the giant heavy lift vessel VB-10000 over the wreck, a response vessel towed a Current Buster to collect any oil that escapes the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) during pollution mitigation operations on Tuesday.