Environmental Protection Barrier to be Built Around Golden Ray

ramp being removed from Golden Ray
ramp being removed from Golden Ray, credit: Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class James Himes

Published Feb 1, 2020 7:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Unified Command (UC) responding to the grounding of the car carrier Golden Ray is finalizing plans for the construction of an environmental protection barrier to be built around the vessel.

The 20,000 dwt Golden Ray partially capsized on September 8 last year while heading outbound from the Port of Brunswick with 4,200 vehicles on board. All crewmembers were rescued safely, though it took about 30 hours to free four crewmembers who were trapped in the vessel's engine room. 

Salvors have already removed more than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture from the vessel.

The salvage effort for Golden Ray is particularly challenging as the wreck sits on its side on shifting sands and cannot be righted. In the initial response, salvors with DonJon-Smit stabilized the site with a blanket of rock on the bottom surrounding the ship, and a separate team from T&T Salvage has been contracted to demolish the vessel in place.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a public notice last Wednesday indicating that the construction plan for the new barrier could potentially impact the navigation channel. The notice is open for public comment until February 4.

Contractors are working daily, weather permitting, on preparing the Golden Ray for removal. Most recently, crews removed the side ramp and have been working on the stern ramp. Removing these ramps will improve safety conditions and expedite operations to cut the vessel into sections for removal.

Kevin Perry of Gallagher Marine Systems, incident commander for the responsible party, said: “We are doing everything we can to get this wreck removal right. This includes considering every last detail of the environmental protection barrier including how its construction will impact marine life and what level of noise the citizens of St. Simons Island can expect while it is being built.”

The Unified Command for the St. Simons Sound Incident Response is comprised of the Coast Guard as the federal on scene coordinator, the Georgia Department of Natural Resource as the state on scene coordinator, and Gallagher Marine Services as the incident commander for the responsible party.