Pile-driving begins around Golden Ray as wreck removal process begins

Notwithstanding legal disputes as to precisely how capsized car carrier Golden Ray (IMO 9775816) should be removed, salvage workers have started to build an environmental barrier around the vessel, which lies on her side in St Simons Sound, Georgia. It is four months since the ship grounded.

A pile-driving operation by workers with Weeks Marine will see between 70 and 80 piles installed firmly into the sea floor.

The Unified command have said that the pile-driving operations would only take place during daylight hour, but warned that the public should expect construction noise. The operation to install the piles is expected to take about a month.

The environmental barrier will include a large floating containment barrier and netting to contain pollutants that might be released as the wreck is cut up.

Once the barrier is completed, contractors will remove the Golden Ray by cutting the hull and the vehicles inside into eight large sections, for removal to a shore facility. There remains a legal challenge to this strategy, with original salvage company SMIT-Donjon maintaining that it would be safer to adopt a different dismantling strategy

John Maddox, Georgia Department of Natural Resource state on scene coordinator, has said that “each individual large-section cut will take approximately 24 hours, and once a cut begins it must continue until that cut is complete. That means noise through the night during some 24-hour periods. We do not yet know when the cutting will begin, but we will make announcements for cutting operations once they are scheduled.”

All the vehicles remain trapped inside the inaccessible cargo holds.

2017-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 71,178 gt Golden Ray is owned by GL NV24 Shipping Inc care of manager Hyundai Glovis of Seoul, South Korea. ISM manager is G-Marine Service Co Ltd of Busan, South Korea. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Hyundai Glovis Co, Ltd.