Golden Ray: Oil discharge follows latest cut

Written by Nick Blenkey
Cutrrent busters are used to help deal with oil pollution

A response vessel crew removes oil from a Current Buster attached to the east apex of the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) around the Golden Ray wreck. The oil will be transported to a response facility for safe processing and recycling. Heavy lift vessel VB-10000 can be seen at top of photo [St. Simons Sound Response photograph]

The St. Simons Sound Incident Response reports that wreck removal personnel separated Section Six from the remainder of the wreck of the capsized car carrier Golden Ray on Friday. However, during weight-shedding operations on the newly-severed section, there was a discharge of oil from the wreck inside of the environmental barrier (EPB) around it.

Responders quickly deployed multiple pre-staged pollution mitigation assets such as Current Busters, oil skimmers and barrier and sorbent boom both inside and outside of the barrier. With the help of helicopter aerial observation, responders identified and adjusted on-water containment vessels to oil that entrained underneath the EPB as it traveled westward on a flooding tide. As the tide ebbed, oil escaped under the barrier into the shipping channel alongside the south end of St. Simons Island passing the St. Simons Island fishing pier.

By Saturday, pollution response teams had mitigated a significant amount of oil deploying multiple strategies inside and outside the EPB.

“We have all assets deployed and are moving quickly to contain any dense oil which migrated beyond the EPB with the shifting tides,” said Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Our people have trained and equipment is prepared to ensure the protection of the people and environment of St. Simons Sound.”

Shoreline teams are actively surveying beaches along St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island and clean-up teams are standing by to quickly respond to any affected areas.

Section Six of the Golden Ray wreck remains connected to the VB-10000 and will be lifted and stowed onto a dry-dock barge once it is safe to do so. Only two of the original eight sections of the wreck now remain to be removed.

Section 6 of Golden Ray wreck after being separated from rest of wreck
The VB-10000 holds Section Six shortly after it is separated from the Golden Ray wreck on Friday. Two sections of the wreck remain. [St. Simons Sound Incident response photo.]
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