Golden Ray salvage: VB-10,000 set to arrive in St. Simons Sound

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The twin-hull heavy lift vessel VB-10,000 will be used for cutting and lifting operations [Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer John D. Miller]

The Unified Command working on the salvage of the capsized car carrier Golden Ray says that the heavy-lift vessel VB-10,000 is set to arrive in St. Simons Sound as soon as Tuesday, weather permitting. Responders will use the vessel to cut and lift the Golden Ray wreck in eight sections.

The largest heavy lift vessel ever built in the U.S., the twin-gantry, twin-barge catamaran VB-10,000 will transit from the Port of Fernandina, Fla. to St. Simons Sound where it will cut and lift the Golden Ray wreck inside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB).

The vessel’s crew is sequestered in a health safety “bubble” to mitigate coronavirus exposure and ensure responder safety during removal operations.

“The arrival of the VB-10,000 has been highly anticipated. It’s a very capable asset implementing the latest in heavy-lifting technology for marine environments,” said Cmdr. Efren Lopez, Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “The vessel is a critical component to our removal plan that ensures the safety of our responders and the public as we move forward and remove the Golden Ray.

A 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) has been established. Mariners are advised to steer clear of the perimeter. Unauthorized flying of drones (UAVs) is prohibited around the wrecksite. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.

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