Fuel Pumped from Golden Ray, Wreck Removal Next Step
Salvage workers and divers have completed the oil pumping of all accessible fuel tanks from the capsized car carrier M/V Golden Ray, the St. Simons Sound Response said.
The salvage operation’s crews managed to gain access to a total of 26 fuel tanks of the ship, some of which were submerged and could only be reached by rappelling and conducting dive operations inside the wreck. Fuel was pumped from the tanks into a barge for disposal.
As informed, the interior of the tanks was then washed with steam to remove residual fuel, which was collected and transferred into containers. More than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture were removed.
“The Unified Command continues the forensic investigation to determine an accurate volume of fuel onboard at the time of the incident and the amount discharged into the environment,” the organization said.
The completion of the fuel removal allows the Unified Command to move on to the removal of the wreck of the Golden Ray- a highly complex and challenging operation, as explained by Commander Matt Baer, U.S. Coast Guard.
“Unified Command will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of those involved in the operation, the public and the environment,” he added.
To improve the stability of the wreck, Unified Command has begun the removal of the vessel’s propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, which weighs a total of approximately 130 tons.
“Due to the vessel’s orientation on its side, these components are creating a load which the vessel was not designed to support. Imagine holding a milk jug with an outstretched arm compared to the same weight hanging at your side. Removing these components will help reduce the stresses on the hull,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah Winston, Unified Command Salvage Branch director.
“This operation will help sustain the integrity of the wreck while we prepare for its full removal.”
St. Simons Sound Response added that plans for the construction of an environmental protection barrier and the full removal of the wreck continue to be evaluated and will be made public once a selection is made.
To remind, the Hyundai Glovis-operated car carrier started listing heavily after it became disabled in early September in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia. The crew of the vessel, which was carrying about 4,000 cars bound for the Middle East, was evacuated.