T&T Salvage says shipping co is responsible for any salvage-related environmental damage

Texas-based T&T Salvage, the salvor of capsized car carrier Golden Ray (IMO 9775816), has filed a motion stating that it is not responsible for any damages that may have resulted from the salvaging process, with liability falling to the vessel’s owner. T&T Salvage filed a motion on June 8th in US District Court in Brunswick, Georgia. The filing was in response to a lawsuit filed by Glynn County in late March in federal court.

The Glynn County suit claimed environmental degradation and financial losses as a result of the capsizing of the vessel in the St. Simons Sound, as well as during the salvage operation, which concluded in October 2021.

The county’s lawsuit named the ship’s South Korean owner, GL NV24 Shipping Inc., T&T and others, including Hyundai Glovis Co., G-Marine Service Co. and Norton Lilly International.

T&T Salvage’s June 8th response said that its contract with GL NV24 held the shipping company responsible for any damage that might result from the salvage operation.

“Under the Wreckhire Contract, GL NV24 has a contractual obligation to defend, indemnify and hold harmless T&T against claims asserted in the underlying lawsuit. To the extent that T&T incurs any liability to plaintiff with respect to the allegations in plaintiff’s live petition, T&T sues GL NV24 as being liable for their own act and/or omissions causing or contributing to any alleged injury or damage, for contribution for any such liability on the part of T&T” the filing stated.

The filing noted that the ship’s owner was held responsible by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, as well as Georgia environmental laws.

T&T further stated in its filing that “damages, if any, were caused by GL NV24’s own negligence associated with the ownership, operation, management, maintenance and/or control of M/V Golden Ray.”

The county’s lawsuit seeks money for its costs to clean public lands, damage to public and private lands, lost tax revenue and lost tourism dollars, among other things. The county’s lawsuit holds the ship’s crew and its owner responsible for the Golden Ray’s capsizing. It also claimed T&T’s operation caused “repeated fires causing discharges of debris and hazards fluids … throughout the duration of the wreck removal.”

2017-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 71,178 gt Golden Ray is owned by GL NV24 Shipping Inc of Majoru, Marshal Islands. It is managed by Hyundai Glovis Co Ltd of Seoul, South Korea.