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320,000 gallons of oil, water removed from cargo ship Golden Ray

To improve the stability of the wreck, Unified Command has begun the removal of the vessel’s propeller, propeller shaft and rudder.

The St. Simons Sound Incident Response Unified Command has successfully completed the oil pumping of all accessible tanks from the M/V Golden Ray. 

According to a release sent out Thursday, in the past few weeks, salvage workers and divers gained access to 26 fuel tanks inside the Golden Ray.

More than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture were removed. The Unified Command will continue the forensic investigation to determine an accurate volume of fuel onboard at the time of the overturn incident and the amount discharged into the environment. 

To improve the stability of the wreck, Unified Command has begun the removal of the vessel’s propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, which weighs a total of approximately 130 tons. 

The weather conditions in Southeast Georgia are delaying the removal of the propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, however.

Choppy seas means no cranes near the Golden Ray. And not many fishermen are showing up in the Jekyll Fishing Center.

Sandy Bowen who works at the shop says that the people who do come in often ask about the cargo ship.

“They’re concerned about the wildlife and any fuel leakage and all that,” Bowen said. “They want to know when it happened, where it sat."

It’s also brought some good business to the shop but some are ready to see it go.

The St. Simons Response team says lightering of the ship is finished.

All 320,000 gallons of accessible fuel was removed.

But there are still 4,000 vehicles on board along with whatever fuels and oils power them.

Susan Inman, coastkeeper with the Altamaha Riverkeeper, says they continue to monitor any oil that may leak from the ship.

“The oil that’s out there and what’s been cleaned up is cleaned up, but it’s out there so we’re going to have to wait and see,” Inman said.

The work to remove the propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, which weigh 130 tons, will begin in the next few days.

“When will it be gone, because I definitely have concerns about the impact to the wildlife and the environment,” Bowen said.

The Unified Command says plans for the construction of an environmental protection barrier and the full removal of the wreck continue to be evaluated.

RELATED: Crews bring in 6,000 tons of rock as areas around Golden Ray cargo ship erodes

RELATED: PHOTOS: First look inside partially submerged Golden Ray cargo ship in Georgia

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