St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC) responders are monitoring weather forecasts, including the threat of severe weather associated with Tropical Storm Eta, to identify a weather window for cutting and lifting of the first section of the wreck of the capsized car car carrier Golden Ray.
Meantime, they continue to face—and fix—problems that emerge as the complex salvage operation continues.
Among issues encountered was heavy chafing of the mooring lines securing the heavy lift vessel VB-10000 due to contact with the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) surrounding the wreck site.
The solution? Responders fabricated and installed anti-chafing gear flanges around the EPB and installed anti-chafing covers around the mooring lines to mitigate chafing and ensure the safety of responders.
Line inspectors deemed the repaired lines safe for use and responders reoriented sections of the EPB to allow for more movement of mooring lines without compromising the efficacy of the barrier.
“Our personnel are continuously working to solve each issue that emerges as we prepare for cutting and lifting the first section of the Golden Ray,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, “The pace of the entire removal operation will be dictated by our prudence and commitment to safety as we encounter known, unknown and unprecedented challenges as well as continue to experience weather impacts. We are grateful for the continued patience of the community.”
The 150-yard safety zone around the Environmental Protection Barrier has been increased to 200 yards for recreational vessels. The UC advises mariners to steer clear of the perimeter. Officials prohibit any unauthorized use of drones around the wrecksite. Responders will report any sightings of drones and drone operators to local authorities.