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Video shows extent of oil spill as crews completed Golden Ray Section Three cut

Officials are now warning swimmers and fishers to be alert for possible oil impacts in the water and shoreline around Jekyll and St. Simons Islands.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Crews completed cutting operations and separated section three from the remainder of the Golden Ray wreck on Thursday morning.

Pollution response teams also helped mitigate an oil spill near the wreck site that happened during the cutting and removal of section three.

A helicopter video released Friday showed the extent of the oil spill. In the video, it appears the spill covered a large area, though the exact amount of area covered by the spill is unknown.

The removal efforts continue after the capsized Golden Ray cargo ship caught on fire back in May. The ship has been stuck in the water since it capsized in 2019.

As removal crews continue to work, the VB-10000 will shift forward to enable weight-shedding operations on the section. Once weight-shedding is complete, the VB-10000 will lift Section Three onto a dry-dock barge for transit to a response facility near Mayors Point Terminal, officials said.

Welding technicians are also making repairs to the side plates of the lifting lugs for Sections Four, Five and Six on the topside of the Golden Ray wreck. Response engineers will reinspect the lugs using non-destructive testing once the repairs are complete. 

Additionally, officials said debris from the vessel has recently increased in volume and has washed ashore on Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island shorelines.

Officials are now warning swimmers and fishers to be alert for possible oil impacts in the water and shoreline around Jekyll and St. Simons Islands.  

Response teams are also watching the shoreline 24 hours a day so they can quickly remove any oily substances that reach the shore.

The 150-yard safety zone has increased to 300 yards for recreational vessels through July 4, 2021. The Unified Command advises boaters to steer clear of the perimeter to ensure the safety of crews and the public. 

“Safety on the water is always a concern for our personnel and for the community especially during holidays,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Efren Lopez, federal on-scene coordinator. “Every day our operations demand a constant flow of response vessels around the wreck site especially when we separate a section of the wreck like today. Please continue to respect our safety zone around the wreck and we encourage boaters to operate safely. ”

If you are swimming and see oil in the water, get out of the water and report the sheen to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

Authorities are warning individuals not to swim or fish in an area with a visible oil sheen. If you encounter what you believe is debris from the Golden Ray wreck, please do not handle the debris. Call the Debris Reporting Hotline at (912) 944-5620.

Credit: St. Simons Sound Incident response



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