Category Archives: News Releases

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 21

Date: 10.3.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122


The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command continues its response to the Motor Vessel Golden Ray. Salvage workers continue to lighter the vessel and they have removed over 169,000 gallons of fuel as of Thursday. 

Response teams continue to canvass the shoreline for oil-impacted impacted areas and conduct environmental protection techniques to mitigate further impact. There are currently 449 personnel and 71 vessels responding to the incident. 14,700 feet of containment boom has been deployed to protect sensitive areas.

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

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we work to resolve this complex situation. We are working diligently and expeditiously to reduce the impact of this incident on the community and surrounding environment.” – Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems, Incident Commander

Representatives of the Unified Command will attend CoastFest on Saturday, Oct. 5th at Mary Ross Waterfront Park, Brunswick GA.

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 rehabilitators 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. 

 

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 20

Date: 10.2.19
Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command continues its response to the Motor Vessel Golden Ray. Salvage workers continue to lighter the vessel and they have removed over 136,000 gallons of fuel as of Wednesday. The source of the oil discharge that occurred on Monday afternoon has been located and secured.

Skimming vessels are continuing to recover oil from the water while response teams continue to canvass the shoreline to mitigate impacted areas. There are currently 315 response personnel out in the field helping to mitigate and report on environmental impacts. 14,700 feet of containment boom has been deployed to protect sensitive areas and booming strategies continue to be optimized based on the evolving response efforts and changing environmental conditions. 

“The Unified Command continues to prioritize environmental protection and pollutant recovery. Yesterday, cleanup crews were deployed to Jekyll Island where they cleaned 1.5 miles of shoreline. Currently, we are also assessing impacted marsh in the sound and associated tributaries, and developing cleanup methods for those affected areas.”  – Jed Hewitt, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, State On Scene Coordinator.

The Georgia Department of Health has issued an advisory alerting swimmers and recreational fishers to the potential presence of oil on the beaches of Jekyll Island. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for 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 working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. 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.

Clean up crews spray sphagnum moss, a peat absorbent, to freshly oiled marsh grass at the mouth, and along the banks, of Cedar Creek.

Responders bagging oiled vegetation on the south bank of the Brunswick River.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 19

Date: 10.1.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

Responders with the unified command reposition boom around the motor vessel Golden Ray Oct. 1, St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Georgia. The barrier boom is maintained daily due to strong currents in the sound and skimming teams are conducting surface clean-up to recover oil product. (CLICK PHOTO ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION IMAGE)

St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command continues its response to the motor vessel Golden Ray. Currently, salvage workers continue to lighter the vessel and have removed over 106,101 gallons of fuel as of Tuesday. Skimming vessels are continuing to recover oil from the water while survey teams continue to monitor shoreline impacts. 14,700 feet of containment boom has been deployed to protect sensitive areas.

“Thank you for your patience during this response, our boom operations are designed to protect the marine environment, protect marinas and other assets,” said Commander Witt. “We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of responders, the public and marine environment as well as maintaining commerce in the area.”

Impacts of pollutants are being investigated and monitored. Contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report any pollution.

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

The UC is working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. 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 18

Date: 9.30.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC) is responding to a pollution discharge by the Motor Vessel Golden Ray on Monday afternoon. Divers are working to locate and secure the source of the discharge while skimming vessels are recovering oil from the water. Survey teams are monitoring for any shoreline impacts. The UC has containment boom deployed to protect sensitive areas and cleanup personnel and equipment are strategically staged and ready to respond to any impacted shoreline.

“The Unified Command has maintained a posture to be able to rapidly respond to any discharges from the vessel, including by skimming, booming, and shoreline cleanup,” said Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “We’re now using these preparations to implement a rapid and thorough cleanup of impacted areas.” 

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


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The UC is working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. 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.


ECONOMIC

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

 

CLICK ABOVE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO

Unified Command skimmers respond to a fuel discharge by the capsized M/V Golden Ray on Sept. 30, 2019. Assets are responding to any discharges and limiting potential shoreline impacts.

CLICK ABOVE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO

A response boat uses absorbent boom to remove an oil sheen near the capsized M/V Golden Ray on Sept. 30, 2019. Safety of responders and the public and protection of the environment are the top priorities for the Unified Command.

CLICK ABOVE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO

Containment boom placed at the capsized M/V Golden Ray. Unified Command has deployed more than 5,300 feet of protective boom to limit the impact of discharged fuel on sensitive areas.

For video B Roll, click this link

Unified Command vessels respond to a fuel discharge by the MV Golden Ray on Sept. 30, 2019. Multiple containment and recovery methods are being utilized to ensure the protection of the public and the environment. 

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 17

Date: 9.30.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC) continues to respond to the capsized Motor Vessel Golden Ray. Salvage workers continue to lighter the vessel and have removed over 74,000 gallons of fuel as of Sunday evening. 

Skimmers continue to be on standby at the Golden Ray to rapidly respond to any discharges from the vessel. Additional personnel and equipment are strategically staged to respond to any impacted shoreline. Approximately 5,300 feet of boom is currently deployed to protect sensitive marsh areas and survey teams continue to monitor for and respond to shoreline impacts.

“Department of Natural Resources and the entire Unified Command are deeply concerned by any pollution impacts. UC teams are on scene to respond to discharged oil and work quickly and safely to protect the St. Simons Sound,” said Jed Hewitt, Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The UC is working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. 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. 

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

Specialists continue to actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for public health information and advisories. A 150 yard safety zone exists around the vessel.

ECONOMIC

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

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 16

Date: 9.27.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The Unified Command is responding to a discharge of pollution by the Motor Vessel Golden Ray that occurred late Friday afternoon. On water skimming operations were carried out using assets that the Unified Command had staged in the vicinity of the Golden Ray to respond to potential discharges. The release has stopped and shoreline cleanup teams and equipment remain staged and ready to rapidly respond to any impacts. 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.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

Specialists continue to actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for public health information and advisories.  

Unified Command skimmers mobilize and respond to a recent pollution discharge in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Georgia, Sept. 27, 2019. Vessels strategically staged in the vicinity of the Golden Ray were able to quickly mobilize, and an overflight was conducted in response to this event. (Unified Command photos)

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 15

Date: 9.26.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC) continues to pump and transfer fuel from the Golden Ray’s fuel tanks into a barge to prevent further discharges and prepare for the safe removal of the vessel. Response personnel are actively monitoring the shoreline and are prepared to respond to impacts from fuel released by the vessel. More than 350 responders are working within the UC and more than 70 vessels are engaged in the response.

“While substantial progress has been made this week, we are only in the beginning of what will likely be a long and complex salvage operation,” said Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems. “Our top priorities are to protect responders, public health, safety, and limit environmental impacts.”

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Response teams are continuing environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas and cleanup personnel and equipment are staged and ready to respond to any recoverable oil. Containment boom  is being used to protect environmentally sensitive marsh habitats. The UC is working with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil. 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.

VESSEL OPERATIONS

Lightering operations to limit the potential of further release of pollution from the vessel began on Wednesday.  Response crews are continuously skimming oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

Specialists are actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website for additional information.

 ECONOMIC

Commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick continues to move under a restricted navigation area order. A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

 

Photo Release: Golden Ray Hot-Tapping

CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO

A marine chemist with the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command tests and monitors the air quality within the overturned motor vessel Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Ga., Sept. 25, 2019. This specialized equipment tests for hazards to response crews working in and alongside the vessel. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause.

CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO

A salvage crewman with the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command rappels into an opening in the vessel Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Ga., Sept. 25, 2019. Response teams assist in operating skimming equipment to collect oil inside the engine compartment of the vessel. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause.

CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO

Responders with the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command assess an oil recovery pump being used to remove fuel from the overturned motor vessel Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Ga., Sept. 25, 2019. This pump is used as part of the hot-tapping process, an industry-standard method of safely pumping fuel from the vessel. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause.

CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO

A crew member with the St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command is lifted by crane to assist with adjustments to fuel lines being used to remove fuel from the overturned motor vessel Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Brunswick, Ga., Sept. 25, 2019. Hot-tapping is an industry-standard method of safely pumping fuel from the vessel. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paige Hause.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 14

Date: 9.25.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC), made up of the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems, continues to target and mitigate shoreline pollution and refine the plan for removing pollutants from the ship. More than 340 responders are attached to the UC and nearly 70 vessels are engaged in the response.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Response teams continue environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas including the west bank of the Back River. Protective booming strategies have been utilized at environmentally sensitive marsh habitats that adjoin St. Simons Sound to neighboring water bodies. The command continues to work with local stakeholder groups to track and investigate oil sighting reports. The public is reminded to avoid touching oil, report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980. 

VESSEL OPERATIONS

Response crews continue removing the oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room, and to date, 4,900 gallons of oil have been removed. Lightering operations, a method to safely remove fuel from the vessel’s tanks, have commenced. 

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

Specialists are actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to monitor the Georgia Department of Public Health website for additional information. 

ECONOMIC

Commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick continues to move on a case-by-case basis. A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.

Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 13

Date: 9.24.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC), made up of the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems, continues to target and mitigate shoreline pollution and refine the plan for removing pollutants from the ship. More than 340 responders are attached to the UC and nearly 60 vessels are engaged in the response.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Response teams continue environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas. Additional oiled vegetation was identified on the west bank of the Back River and 10 rolls of absorbent boom were deployed to prevent further impact in the area. To date, over 5,400 feet of boom has been deployed and 24,400 feet of boom is strategically staged for use as needed. The command is working with local stakeholder groups to track and investigate oil sighting reports. The public is reminded to avoid touching oil, report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980. 

VESSEL OPERATIONS

Response crews continue removing oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room. A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is being used to ventilate the ship and ensure safe working conditions. Crews are making preliminary plans to start removing oil from the tanks on board the ship. A plan to begin hot tapping, an industry-standard method to safely pump fuel from the vessel, is being finalized. 

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

Specialists are actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to monitor the Georgia Department of Public Health website for additional information. 

ECONOMIC

Commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick continues to move on a case by case basis. A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.