Coast Guard to hold public hearing on Golden Ray capsizing

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Efforts to dismantle and remove the vessel are ongoing [St. Simons Sound Incident Response Photo]

The U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, Republic of Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator, and the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal are scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing to consider evidence related to the capsizing of the motor vessel Golden Ray.

The hearing will start Monday at the Marshes of Glynn Library (Brunswick-Glynn County) in Brunswick, Ga. It will be broadcast live, as well as recorded, to ensure public access and participation but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, physical public and media attendance is not permitted.

The formal hearing is scheduled to convene daily at 10:30 a.m. EST, September 14, 18, 21 and 22.

The hearing will focus on the condition of the ship prior to and at the time of the casualty. It will also focus on the shipowner, and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, and the loading process for the port of Brunswick.

The capsizing of Golden Ray and a subsequent fire occurred off the coast of St. Simons Island September 8, 2019.

The casualty met the requirements for a formal investigation level of effort due to the loss of the vessel, damage to U.S. property, and discharge of hazardous substances.

The Coast Guard Seventh District Commander, Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, initiated a “District Formal Investigation” under 46 CFR 4.07-1. This was influenced primarily by the potential lessons to be derived from the casualty for public interest. Investigations of marine casualties and accidents and the determinations made from them, are generally for the purposes of taking appropriate measures for promoting safety of life and property at sea and are not intended to fix civil or criminal responsibility.

A formal investigation is composed of a specially designated lead investigating officer to serve as the presiding officer. Rear Adm. Jones also designated several specialists and technical experts to assist the lead investigating officer.

The hearing will be streamed live each day HERE.

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