Removal project of Golden Ray wreck postponed at least two weeks
Once again the project to remove the wreck of the ro/ro Golden Ray from St Simons Sound, Georgia has been postponed - this time by an equipment modification project.
The first of seven transverse cuts through the hull of the Golden Ray is completed by Salvors, sawing the bow off successfully using a length of anchor stud chain. The operation for cutting and lifting began on November 9, and it was expected to take 24 hours.
At the 25-hour mark when the chain parted, cutting was still in progress. After repairs to the chain and improvements to machinery, work resumed, then stopped again due to stormy weather.
The first complete cutting evolution took 20 days with these delays, and on November 29, the team hoisted the first section onto a deck barge for transportation and disposal.
The response team is pre-cutting parts of the exterior hull plating, building on the experience acquired from the first cut, and adjusting its equipment to accelerate the next phases of the work.
Because of a small COVID-19 outbreak affecting a restricted number of crewmembers, the response effort was delayed this summer. Since then the response team has rented a nearby resort facility to sequester critical workers from the public in isolation, minimizing more health risks; however, two respondents who were not part of the critical removal team and were not housed at the resort have recently tested coronavirus positive.
The initial goal for the removal of the wreck was for June 2020, prior to the peak hurricane season, and the chosen method was partly selected for its speed. The timeline has slipped several times, however and the initial deadline for completion has passed.
The Golden Ray response was postponed in October due to difficulties with a temporary anchoring device, in addition to the recent cutting problems and the earlier COVID-19 hiatus.
Maritime Business World