Preparations begin for final stage of the dismemberment of the Golden Ray

Crane barge VB 10,000 has been preparing to hoist the final section of capsized and now sliced car carrier Golden Ray. The first lift of Section 4 will be a matter of damage control, with the section being brought out of the water to give experts a first look at the section’s underside, which has now been embedded in the sand for more than two years.

The engineers and salvage masters expect to find that the underside of the final section has suffered significant damage. Its extent will dictate the degree of refitting required to the receiving cradle on the deck of the dry dock barge.

The crane vessel moved across Section 4 over the weekend of October 8th/9th, moving from its west end to its east end as part of routine maintenance. Section 4 is 80ft long and weighs just over 4,900 metric tons. Once the maintenance has been completed, the VB-10000 will move into position over the section, attach the grommets and prepare for the lift.

That final lift operation will following the pattern of that used for Section 5, which had suffered a great deal of damage. When it was lifted for the first time on September 10th it was discovered that most of the hull plating on the submerged port side was missing. This necessitated extensive refitting and a modification of the cradle on the deck of the dry dock barge that was to receive Section 5 and was the main cause of the recent delays to the process. It was almost two weeks before the 3,300-metric-ton Section 5 was positioned in the steel-girded cradle of the dry dock barge. The dry dock barge and its cargo were then towed to Mayor’s Point Terminal on the East River in Brunswick.

The two midship sections 5 and 4 bore the brunt of impact when the ship capsized on its port side on September 8th 2019, leading to what looks like being the most expensive liability claim since the Costa Concordia capsized off the Italian coast nearly 10 years ago.

Once Section 4 is lifted, it will remain suspended while work is conducted to prepare the steel-girded cradle on the dry dock barge.

Section 4 and Section 5 are to be docked at a site off of Bay Street on the East River, where each will be dismantled into smaller sections for transport by barge to the Modern American Recycling Services facility in Gibson, Louisiana.

Section 3 and Section 6 of the shipwreck are presently being sea-fastened to the deck of the barge Julie B. Guided by tugs, the Julie B will transport both simultaneously to the Louisiana recycling facility.