Golden Ray salvage to face more delays
After new engineering problems emerged concerning the mooring system of a specialized heavy-lift crane vessel to be used for the project, operations to extract the overturned car carrier Golden Ray in St Simons Sound, Ga. was faced with further delays.
Due to coronavirus issues and Hurricane Isaias, the complex salvage project was suspended earlier this year, and now the cutting and lifting operations will be moved back several weeks to allow engineers to change the mooring device VB-10,000 after it failed to meet test requirements.
The engineers of the response team constructed a set of five anchors that accounted for many difficult variables, such as intense sound waves, movement restrictions due to the environmental protection barrier (EPB) and proximity to the shipping channel. The remaining anchor at the most demanding mooring site in the system did not fulfill its pull-test requirements after successfully installing and pull-testing four anchors.
The Unified Command (UC) said it is reviewing several options for a revised anchor system and will make a decision ensuring the safety of participants and the public, protecting the surrounding environment and ensuring that trade in the port continues.
Golden Ray, the Marshall-Islands-flagged roll-on, roll-off vessel, has been aground on its side outside the second largest car carrier port in the nation since it capsized in September 2019 shortly after leaving the Port of Brunswick en route to Baltimore. The incident 's cause is under investigation.
The pilot of the ship and 23 crew members were all safely recovered, including four crew members who were trapped inside the vessel for 35 hours before being rescued by a hole drilled into the hull.
The Golden Ray wreck remains stable and is continuously tracked around the EPB by sensors and during hydrographic surveys. Throughout the week, an environmental unit performs shoreline inspections and pollution response teams continue to track the wreck site. No emerging effects on the environment were found.
Approximately 400 employees and 50 on-water assets are continuing plans to cut and lift the wreck, including tugs, barges and response vessels.
The Korean-owned Golden Ray will need to be dismantled in place and removed in sections as the vessel is unable to support the tension on the hull and keel during parbuckling operations in its current location and condition.
The two 255-foot tall portals of the VB-10,000 will use chain lengths to break the capsized RoRo vessel into eight parts and lift them to barges for recycling to Louisiana for eventual transport.
Maritime Business World