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.