Massive Oil Leak During Dismantling Of Georgia Ship ‘MV Golden Ray’

A significant amount of oil had escaped a barrier while crews had been busy dismantling an overturned cargo ship along the Georgia coast.

Michael Himes, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class, said that it was difficult to estimate the amount of oil leaked. It had impacted the marsh grass present along the shoreline.

Crews observed the leak first around 8 in the morning while cutting a fifth section of the Golden Ray that had capsized in 2019 (September) with more than 4,000 automobiles in cargo decks.

About half of the ship had been submerged partially off the St. Simons Island, approximately located 70 miles south of Savannah. Himes said that the changing currents can force the oil past the barrier that had been surrounding the vessel.

The VB-10000 lifts Section Seven of Golden Ray wreck during removal operations on Monday. St. Simons Sound Incident response photo
Image Credits: St. Simons Sound Incident response

Himes said that this was an unfortunate outcome of getting rid of a wreck in such an environment. In November, the demolition crews had begun working to remove the ship by cutting it into eight huge chunks and putting them on the barges.

Officials had been hoping to have the task finished by January, but numerous problems had resulted in delays. Most of the fuel on board the ship was siphoned from the vessel’s tanks much before the demolition had begun.

Himes said that officials are aware that there was potential for more leaks. The crews had washed up oil from the vessel that had foregone the environmental protection barrier in June.

Fletcher Sams from Altamaha Riverkeeper, the environmental group, said that the leak appeared to be worse. He said that they had seen sheen everywhere. He also added that it meant a lot of fuel.


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