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Final cut begins on the Golden Ray as two pieces remain

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Next Wednesday marks two years since the Golden Ray cargo ship capsized in the St. Simons Sound.

Efforts to remove the wreck are still going on. Crews are now making the final cut as they chop the ship up to haul the pieces away.

Two pieces of the wreck remain. Friday, crews are reconfiguring the cutting chain, which ensures the cut will work efficiently.

Removal operations of the Golden Ray wreck happen around the clock.

“The team will continue to cycle the chain 24 hours until the remainder of the wreck is separated into two sections,” Unified Command Petty Officer Michael Himes said.

Section Five will be the first to get lifted and transported to Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick. Followed by Section Four.

Unified Command doesn’t have an exact date on when this will happen, but they’re aiming for the end of the month.

“Not only are we getting to the end of the wreck removal phase, but every day that passes, where we maintain our personnel safety and the public’s safety is a day we take particular pride in,” Himes said.

Himes said there are several ways they are monitoring and mitigating any type of pollution or debris from escaping the wreck site.

“What makes this really unique is the investment in personnel and the infrastructure to protect St. Simons Island, the Sound and Jekyll Island.”

This includes the Environmental Protection Barrier and numerous boats strategically placed around the ship.

“Our pollution response team has a 24-hour cycle, where we have watch standers on the VB that are constantly looking for any potential oil or debris.”

But sometimes, Himes says, debris and oil get past these mitigation efforts.

“Because of extreme tidal forces.”

As removal operations near completion, Himes says crews will remain out in the Sound for even longer.

“We’ll go right into the demobilization phase which starts with removing any debris that may have sunken down to the sea floor inside the barrier.”

The protection barrier will be the last to go, wrapping up the more than two-year removal operation.

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