Texas-based T&T Salvage LLC (T&T) has been selected to remove the wreck of the capsized car carrier Golden Ray from St. Simons Sound.
T&T salvage will be taking over from DonJon-SMIT, which was the initial response contractor until now.
“This is one of the most complicated marine casualty responses in U.S. history. DonJon-SMIT’s commitment to safety, along with hundreds of other responders, resulted in no injuries despite all the emergent hazards they faced,” said Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems, incident commander for the responsible party.
The St. Simons Sound Incident Response Unified Command said that the plan for the wreck removal and an estimated timeline for its execution are still being finalized.
As informed, the command is coordinating with experts to determine the most prudent barrier to place around the vessel so full-scale demolition may begin.
Portions of the ship have already been removed, its rudder and propeller, and are being donated to the State of Georgia for use as artificial reefs in areas designated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The removal of approximately 130 tons of weight was aimed at reducing stress to the hull of the wreck, allowing for the wreck to become more stable before it is fully removed.
The operation followed the completion of fuel pumping from the stricken vessel’s tanks, with more than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture removed.
The next stage of the operation will see the construction of an environmental protection barrier in order to mitigate potential risk to the environment from the wreck removal activities.
“We have not made a decision on exactly what type of barrier will be constructed given the complex nature of the response, but we are close,” Coast Guard Cmdr. Matt Baer, federal on-scene coordinator for the incident said.
The Hyundai Glovis-operated car carrier started listing heavily after it became disabled in early September 2019 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 before the ship overturned.