The Coast Guard has begun efforts to rescue four remaining crew members on the Golden Ray, a Hyundai Glovis car carrier that capsized at around 2 a.m. Sept. 8 as it was leaving Brunswick, GA.
The Associated Press reported Lt. Lloyd Heflin said rescuers drilled a hole through the hull to make contact with the trapped crew members and that “the early indication is they are on board and OK.”
He added that getting them out of the ship would be challenging. The ship is laying on its port side. The Coast Guard’s Seventh District said in a Twitter post that it and salvage crews “are developing an extraction plan…. This is a slow, but safe process. ”
Arirang, a South Korean broadcaster, reported on its website that South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the four crew members were all trapped inside the engine room.
The Coast Guard dispatched eight units and was able to rescue 20 people from the ship within 10 hours, including the U.S. pilot of the ship, six South Korean crew members and 13 seafarers from the Philippines, according to Arirang. But four additional South Korean crew members remained trapped in the ship.
In the morning of Sept. 9, with the ship still laying on its port side in St. Simons Sound, video from local television stations and the Coast Guard showed helicopters landing on the starboard side of the Golden Ray and rescuers walking about. Another group of rescuers was gathered on the ship’s keel.
Various reports said there were about 4,000 automobiles on the Golden Ray, and it was not clear if the ship had both discharged and loaded vehicles in Brunswick.
The cause of the capsize was not clear. The Coast Guard said it had made a starboard turn as it was departing Brunswick when it keeled over. The Coast Guard said that there had been a fire on the ship after the accident and that conditions initially made it too risky to enter the ship to search for the four crew members.
The Georgia Ports Authority says its Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick is the largest auto terminal in North America and handled 613,680 autos and machinery units in the fiscal year that ended June 30. GPA has announced a $1.7 million project to add four additional acres to the 662-acre terminal that will add an estimated 600 processing spaces.
Before calling Brunswick, the ship had made stops in Veracruz and Altamira, Mexico, Freeport, TX, and Jacksonville, FL, and was scheduled to next call Baltimore, according to Vessel Finder’s website. Built in 2017, the 656-foot ship is registered in the Marshall Islands.
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said a team that would be led by the Coast Guard was being dispatched to Brunswick to participate in the investigation of the accident.