The salvors on the wreck of capsized car carrier Golden Ray (IMO 9775816) in St Simon’s Sound, Brunswick, Georgia, USA, began work late last week on the sixth cut through the vessel’s hull. The previous cut was completed on July 1st. In the three weeks since then the salvors hoisted and removed the fifth section. They then conducted a thorough overhaul of the cutting gear aboard heavy lift barge VB 10,000.
A debris removal team with a crane and grapple have pulled 46 vehicles and two moveable deck sections from the bottom near the wreck. The debris was loaded out onto a deck barge and will be transported to local scrapyards for recycling.
The starting of the sixth cut has begun to make it look as if the end is in sight, coming up to two years after the vessel capsized. The resolution of the disaster has been bedevilled with problems, including a change of salvor after disagreements as to the number of sections and whether the vessel should be emptied of vehicles before cutting commenced. The sheer scale of the venture has seen many of the challenges being overcome as the Unified Command went along. Finding the cutting chain that was strong enough to do the job proved challenging – the slicing line is now prepped before the unique strengthened diamond cutting chain sets to work.
There was also a significant fire inside the hull. Three sections and two cuts remain to be completed.