The car carrier Golden Ray, which ran aground and capsized in St. Simons Sound while it was leaving the Port of Brunswick, Georgia, on Sept. 8, will be cut in place and removed.
“Maritime experts engaged in the response have determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition,” said a statement from Unified Command, set up by the Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Gallagher Marine Systems overseeing the response to the casualty.
Unified Command said it “is developing plans to remove all of the M/V Golden Ray’s hull, components and cargo by disassembling the vessel in place. This remains a complex situation but additional information about the removal plan and the expected timeline will be shared with the public as and when available.”
As of Oct. 12, it said lightering of the forward fuel oil tanks on the ship had been completed and more than 225,000 gallons of fuel have been removed. Removal of the remaining fuel and lubricant tanks continues. Around 300,000 gallons of fuel was on the ship when it overturned, according to earlier estimates.
Pollution mitigation and response efforts are continuing. Water is being monitored at 22 sites under a long-term plan to ensure the safety of the public, and the Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory.
Twenty-four crew members were rescued from the ship after it went aground. Twenty were pulled off the ship within 10 hours, but another four were trapped and finally removed after a day and a half when rescuers were able to cut a hole in the bottom of the ship in order for them to escape. The Golden Ray is operated by the South Korean shipping and logistics company Hyundai Glovis.
An inquiry into the cause of the accident is ongoing by the Coast Guard.