Project Update: MV Golden Ray Salvage

Project Update: MV Golden Ray Salvage

On September 8, 2019, the 71,178-ton, 660-foot MV Golden Ray automotive cargo ship capsized off the coast of Brunswick near Saint Simons Sound. Thanks to swift action taken by CDR Norm C. Witt, Commanding Officer of the USCG Marine Safety Unit Savannah, all 24 lives on board were spared.

The decommissioning of a ship of this size and situation is cumbersome. T&H is partnering with GHD Group to develop a Georgia Ports Authority-owned staging site for demolition and recycling of cars onboard, and to reinforce portions of the vessel for transport. T&H assisted with surveying, environmental permitting and compliance for land and coastal areas, site design, and construction admin to prepare the +/- 5-acre salvage yard to receive pieces of the ship and cars.

The partially submerged Golden Ray sits as an environmental hazard to the Sound and nearby waterways and marshland. It was declared a total loss shortly after the wreck and salvage work began in February 2020 to manage the impact of leaking fuel/contaminants. To properly prepared the ship for recycling by T&T Salvage, its size must be reduced. A ship cutting chain will be strung between arched lift vessel, VB 10000 that will position itself around the wreckage to dissect the boat into manageable pieces.

T&H assisted with permitting with Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Georgia DNR the Environmental Protection Division and Coastal Resources Division – Georgia DNR to properly prepare the site on an expedited timeline. In addition to environmental concerns and hurricane season, the ship’s structural integrity compromised. The ship pieces cannot travel to the Louisiana homeport of the VB 10000 as originally intended until they are structurally stabilized, necessitating the expeditious timeline for securing the salvage site.

Site preparation on the salvage yard began is anticipated to begin this month. The first pieces of the Golden Ray are expected to come offshore in the coming weeks, they will be transferred via Pacific Crane Barge to an offsite dock. Modern American Recycling Services (MARS) will oversee the groundwork of dismantling and scrapping the ship, along with recycling the vehicles onboard. This work is expected to begin in August and will last 6-8 months.

VB 100000 at the Port of Fernandina, Florida

Partially submerged MV Golden Ray in the Saint Simons Sound, Georgia