Golden Ray: Disposal of final sections poses its own problems

Written by Nick Blenkey
Deformed section of Golden Ray wrecj

A closeup image of the damage and deformations to Section Five of Golden Ray wreck observed by the salvage master and response engineers. [St. Simons Sound Incident Response]

It is now more than two years since the September 8, 2019 capsize of the car carrier Golden Ray and, at this stage, disassembling and disposing of its wreck has taken significantly longer than the time it took to build the ship. Its keel was laid at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard on December 23, 2015 and it was delivered by the shipyard on May 12, 2017.

Though the St. Simons Sound Incident Response team has completed cutting the wreck into eight sections, disposing of the two remaining sections, Section Four and Section Five presents its own problems.

Last Friday, the salvage master and the response engineers surveyed the condition of Section Five and prescribed modifications to the cradle support system for the dry-dock barge set to receive the section. The Golden Ray sustained damage when it capsized and listed into a sand bar in 2019. The cradle support system will ensure the section remains stable for transit to a response facility near Mayor’s Point Terminal. The section will be partially dismantled at the facility.

“The removal plan accounted for possible damage to both Section Five and Section Four,” said wreck removal project manager and naval architect Matt Cooke of T&T Salvage. “We are constantly adapting and modifying our approach based on the latest information we receive from the wreck site. The salvage master’s observations are a vital component to the overall engineering process.”

A weight-shedding team removed 226 vehicles from Section Five last week. In addition to ensuring a safe lift of the section, weight-shedding also increases the safety of dismantling operations. Any sunken debris that remains inside the Environmental Protection Barrier around the wreck will be removed after the wreck sections are removed.

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