Photos: Salvors Assess Damage From Fire Aboard Golden Ray

golden ray
Tugs fight the fire within the hull of the Golden Ray on Friday (St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

Published May 16, 2021 12:23 AM by The Maritime Executive

The fire aboard the wrecked ro/ro Golden Ray was extinguished on Friday night, and on Saturday, salvors began a post-fire assessment process for the wreck's structure and the wreck-removal equipment. The process will likely take several days, according to the unified command in charge of the response. 

A large fire broke out inside the wreck on Friday during hot work operations. Salvors were pre-cutting along the planned cut groove using six-foot cutting lances, a technique used to direct the chain away from thicker sections of steel in the cut path. During this cutting evolution, the team normally uses active fire suppression, and when smoke began coming out of the hull they redoubled that effort. As the fire grew, the wreck was evacuated, and no injuries were reported. 

"Safety is our highest priority and every member of the response displayed tremendous commitment to ensuring that emergency plans were followed during the entire fire fighting and evacuation evolution," said USCG Cmdr. Efren Lopez, the federal on-scene coordinator.

Infrared image of the seat of the fire (Courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response)

Image courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response

Image courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response

Image courtesy St. Simons Sound Incident Response

The fire was out by Friday night, and firefighting teams conducted a fire watch overnight to ensure that the blaze stayed extinguished. On-water pollution mitigation patrols continued, and water sampling frequency was increased to check for any effects on water quality. So far, the monitoring efforts have found no sign of hazardous particulate matter in the water. According to state on-scene coordinator John Maddox of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, air quality standards were not exceeded at any of the response command's community monitoring sites.