Category Archives: News Releases

Keep our crews safe by not flying drones over or near the Golden Ray

The wreck site is located within 5 nautical miles of an airport. Therefore, drones are prohibited without written authorization from the FAA in Class E airspace per Title 14 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) part 107. For more information visit https://bit.ly/33MXPWa

As response crews continue to lighter and prepare the M/V Golden Ray for removal, please don’t fly drones over or near the wreck site. Our crews are working under very challenging conditions and a drone can be a distraction or impede the operation of heavy equipment.

Thank you for your cooperation, St. Simons Sound Unified Command.

 

 

Sidney Lanier Park Boat Ramp Reopens for Public Use

Staging area crews reconfigure the worksite to enable public access to the Sidney Lanier Park Boat Ramp Nov. 5, 2019.

The municipal boat ramp beneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick reopened to the public.

The boat ramp was closed while response crews from the Unified Command utilized it to conduct operations related to the capsizing of the M/V Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound. The public is urged to use caution in the area as response crews will still be operating.

The public should use the second entrance where an attendant will assist with traffic flow. The ramp has been impacted by operations, but will be restored once the work is complete.

A list of all available boat ramps can be found at CoastalGaDNR.org/AllBoatRamps. Anyone with questions may contact CRD at 912-264-7218.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 28

Date: 10.26.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

Unified Command response crews will strategically place rocks next to the hull of the M/V Golden Ray to slow down erosion around the vessel starting October 28, 2019.

Strong area tidal currents in the sound have been causing erosion and transporting sediment. Once the vessel is completely dismantled and transferred out of the sound, the rocks will be removed using excavators with sieve buckets.

Trucks are delivering approximately 6,000 tons of rock from several rock quarries located within the state of Georgia. When operations begin, the rock will be transported by barge and placed on the seafloor using knuckle boom excavators and GPS for accuracy. Sonar technology will be used to guide the placement of the 1-to-3 inch aggregate rocks next to the hull of the vessel in real time.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have reviewed and approved the operation while engineers work to finalize a vessel removal plan.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as plans are developed to remove the ship and its cargo from the waterway,” said Federal On Scene Coordinator Norman Witt, Coast Guard commander for the Unified Command. “Response crews are working seven days a week, weather permitting, to prepare the motor vessel Golden Ray for removal.”

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Georgia, Gallagher Marine Systems, and other local partners continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of its responders and the surrounding community.

The established 150-yard safety zone around the M/V Golden Ray remains in effect and commercial traffic impact has been minimal.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is the official source of information for the M/V Golden Ray response operations.

 

Unit Manager Reid Jackson of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, walks past a mound of gravel, Brunswick, Georgia, Oct. 25, 2019. The 1-to-3 inch rock-mixture was staged for deployment and later placed next to the hull of the M/V Golden Ray in order to slow down erosion around the vessel.

 

Unit Manager Reid Jackson of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division holds a piece of rock delivered to the staging area in Brunswick, Georgia, Oct. 25, 2019. The 1-to-3 inch rock-mixture was staged for deployment and later placed next to the hull of the M/V Golden Ray in order to slow down erosion around the vessel.

 

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 27

UC response crews stabilize the source of white smoke on the motor vessel Golden Ray in Brunswick, Ga, Oct. 20, 2019

Date: 10.20.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

Unified Command response crews have stabilized the source of white smoke on board the motor vessel Golden Ray and will continue to closely monitor the situation throughout the evening with a safety boat and a tugboat equipped with firefighting equipment. Air monitoring around the vessel and in the community has shown no signs of impact.

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Georgia, Gallagher Marine Systems, and other local partners continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of its responders and the surrounding community. The established 150-yard safety zone around the Golden Ray remains in effect and commercial traffic has not been affected by this incident. The cause of the smoke is unknown at this time.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 26

Unified Command responds to white smoke coming from the vessel Golden Ray in Brunswick, Ga, Oct. 20, 2019

Date: 10.20.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The Unified Command confirms white smoke is coming from the motor vessel Golden Ray. Response officials are investigating with the use of overflights and surface-level salvage teams. We are continuing air monitoring efforts on-site and for the surrounding community. The safety of response crews and the public is our top priority.

More than 250,000 gallons of fuel has been removed from the M/V Golden Ray to date. Currently, there are more than 400 people involved in the response with 80 vessels.

Maritime experts engaged in the response have determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition. Consequently, Unified Command is developing plans to remove all of the M/V Golden Ray’s hull, components, and cargo by disassembling the vessel in place. This remains a complex situation but additional information about the removal plan and the expected timeline will be shared with the public as and when available.

Pollution mitigation and response efforts will continue throughout the duration of the removal operation.

Unified Command’s priorities are ensuring the safety of responders and the public, protecting the environment, and completing a full removal of the vessel. All parties involved in the response are fully committed to the successful completion of these operations.

Specialists from the Unified Command are conducting water monitoring at 22 sites under a long term plan to ensure the safety of the public. The Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for further public health information and advisories.

Members of the public should not touch oil or attempt to rescue oiled birds or wildlife. They should instead report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980.

A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 25

Date: 10.12.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122


Unified Command has completed the lightering o
f the forward fuel oil tanks onboard the M/V Golden Ray. More than  225,000 gallons of fuel have been removed to date. Lightering of the remaining fuel and lubricant tanks continues. 

Maritime experts engaged in the response have determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition. Consequently, Unified Command is developing plans to remove all of the M/V Golden Ray’s hull, components, and cargo by disassembling the vessel in place. This remains a complex situation but additional information about the removal plan and the expected timeline will be shared with the public as and when available. 

Pollution mitigation and response efforts will continue throughout the duration of the removal operation. 

Unified Command’s priorities are ensuring the safety of responders and the public, protecting the environment, and completing a full removal of the vessel. All parties involved in the response are fully committed to the successful completion of these operations.  

Specialists from the Unified Command are conducting water monitoring at 22 sites under a long term plan to ensure the safety of the public. The Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for further public health information and advisories. 

Members of the public should not touch oil or attempt to rescue oiled birds or wildlife. They should instead report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980

A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

 

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 24

Date: 10.10.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command continues its response to the M/V Golden Ray incident. On-water operations have resumed following a pause due to heavy weather. Lightering operations have now removed more than 220,000 gallons of fuel from the vessel. More than 400 personnel and 70 vessels are currently responding to the incident.

Response teams continue to canvass the shoreline for oil-impacts and conduct environmental protection techniques including applying a sphagnum moss-based sorbent to oiled marsh grass in areas of the south shore of the Brunswick River between the I-95 bridge and Cedar Creek. Sphagnum, a standard oil spill recovery technique for marsh areas, binds to the oil to prevent it from spreading and allow for its natural degradation. Additional response teams are patrolling area beaches to recover any tar balls which have come ashore using proper safety equipment and appropriate tools.

Specialists from the Unified Command are conducting water monitoring at 22 sites under a long term plan to ensure the safety of the public. The Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for further public health information and advisories. 

Members of the public should not touch oil or attempt to rescue oiled birds or wildlife. They should instead report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980

A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

St. Simons response personnel

Response personnel apply a sphagnum moss-based sorbent to freshly oiled marsh grass on Oct. 8. Spaghnum is used in marsh areas to prevent the spread of fresh oil and allow for its natural degradation.

St Simons Map

Specialists are conducting sampling water quality at 22 sites in areas surrounding the vessel. Results of the testing are analyzed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Georgia Department of Public Health for any contaminants from the M/V Golden Ray.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 23

Date: 10.7.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122


The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command continues its response to the Motor Vessel Golden Ray. Due to heavy weather and concern for crew safety, on-site operations have been partially suspended. 

 The National Weather Service has issued a Marine Weather statement for the area cautioning mariners of wind gusts up to 33 knots, higher than average wave heights, and lightning strikes. On water operations and salvage crews are standing by until weather conditions improve.

“A great deal of judgment is required when assessing if weather conditions are too rough to conduct specific operations. Responders must have certain levels of visibility to safely operate equipment such as boats and cranes. High winds and rough seas can prevent some equipment from functioning properly. Safety is our top priority.” – CMDR Norm Witt, USCG, Federal On Scene Coordinator

As of Monday, Salvage workers have removed over 198,000 gallons of fuel.

Response teams continue to canvass the shoreline for oil-impacted areas and conduct environmental protection techniques to mitigate further impact. There are currently 487 personnel and 87 vessels responding to the incident.

 A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

The Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for further public health information and advisories. Specialists continue to actively monitor air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island.

 The Unified Command is partnering with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil, including working with permitted wildlife specialists to locate, examine and rehabilitate potentially oiled wildlife. 

Members of the public should not touch oil or attempt to rescue oiled birds or wildlife. They should instead report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980

  Weather Conditions Temporarily suspend on-water salvage operations due to safety concerns. CLICK ABOVE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO.

 

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 22

Vessels from the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command conduct salvaging operations on the motor vessel Golden Ray in Brunswick, Ga, Sept. 30, 2019. (CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO)

 

 

Members of a salvage team check placement of a containment boom around the grounded motor vessel Golden Ray off the coast of St. Simons Island, Ga on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2019. The floating system helps prevent the spread of oil and other liquids that may leak from the grounded boat. (CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO)

 

 

SCAT and cleanup teams for the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command canvass the shoreline looking for oil-impacted areas in Brunswick, Ga, Oct. 4, 2019. (CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO)

 

 

Representatives of the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command host an informational booth at CoastFest 2019 in Brunswick, Ga., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Members of the Unified Command were on-hand to address comments and questions from the community. (CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO)