golden ray cargo ship salvage operation

Savannah Corps of Engineers via Facebook

  • It took a year to plan, but the salvage efforts started in earnest in November 2020.
  • To start with, the first massive chunk was cut off of the ship and schlepped to shore, but it took until January 2 to get the stern separated and removed as operaitons continue.
  • At least one SUV fell off the wreck and into the ocean when the section of the ship, weighing 6000 metric tons, was airborne; an environmental barrier involving mesh netting is helping catch loose vehicles that drop out.

    UPDATE 1/3/2021: As the salvage of the Golden Ray cargo ship continues off the coast of Georgia, workers on the night of January 2 completed the operation to separate the stern from the rest of the ship. Next they'll load it into a "specially devised cradle" on a barge deck and haul it off to a recycling facility in Louisiana, the local Brunswick News reported on Sunday. In the end, the 656-foot-long ship will have been cut into eight pieces, the paper said. Meanwhile, there are some 30 vessels out patrolling the waters around the capsized ship on the lookout for oil leaks and other environmental issues, while an "environmental protection barrier" around the ship has mesh netting underneath it to catch loose vehicles—and vehicle parts—that drop out of the wreck. "Plastic debris and car parts from plastic pumps to wheel panels also were seen washing up on shore," the Brunswick News noted.

    cars are seen in the bow section of the golden ray cargo

    Cars in the bow section of the Golden Ray in a photo from December 14, 2020.

    SOPA ImagesGetty Images

    The saga of the Golden Ray continues. Once a simple cargo ship plying the seas, the 656-foot-long vessel made the news in September 2019 when it capsized off the coast of Georgia near Saint Simons Sound with around 4200 new vehicles on board. It’s been sitting on the shallow ocean bed since then while plans to extract the ship and its contents from the scene were developed and, now, finally, implemented.

    This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    That’s why, all through November, salvage workers were getting ready to slice the ship into eight smaller pieces in order to move them back to shore. A giant chain powered by two large engine made the first cut through the keel this weekend. This work required a giant piece of equipment called the Versabar VB 10,000 crane vessel that was first built a decade ago to help with oil rigs damaged in hurricanes.

    This enormous work vessel is made up of two barges with two truss space frames between them and is able to lift heavy wreckage out of the water so it can be loaded onto other ships and carried away. The VB 10,000 can lift 7500 metric tons, and it’s estimated that the first section of the Golden Ray weighed 6000 metric tons, with all sorts of cars and sediment inside.

    golden ray cargo ship salvage operation

    St. Simons Sound Incident Response

    golden ray cargo ship salvage operation

    St. Simons Sound Incident Response

    Once lifted in the air, the first cut slice of the Golden Ray was placed on the barge Julie B and taken to Port of Brunswick before eventually heading to a recycling center in Louisiana. It wasn’t easy work. During all of the work and commotion this past weekend, an SUV fell into the ocean from the large chunk of the Golden Ray that was lifted in the air. It was not the first to fall, and the salvage team has installed a giant net to catch things like this. Smaller chunks of debris have also washed up on nearby shores and oil-skimming craft prowl the waters around the wreck to clean up any spills.

    St. Simons Sound Incident Response

    This kind of unusual activity is bringing out the gawkers. There’s a 200-yard safety barrier around the wreck, keeping the sightseeing boats and drones all trying to get good views of the situation a safe distance away. A Saint Simons resident told local news station WJXT that viewers can see distressed vehicles from shore.

    "With the binoculars we can see cars and things inside the lifted section," she said. "The cars are jumbled, right? Some of them look like they're upside down, some of them look like you're looking at the roof. The ones we can see are red, white, and black. They’re definitely in all sorts of orientations and not great conditions."

    golden ray cargo ship salvage operation

    St. Simons Sound Incident Response

    It’s not just locals who are interested in the Golden Ray, which was only two years old when it capsized. The Brunswick News says documentary filmmaker Josh Gilligan is making a movie about the wreck and salvage mission. "The size and scope of it is just unreal," he told the News. We can’t wait to see his finished work, but at least we have some local news footage to watch until then.

    This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

    Share Us