JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Vandalism is suspected in the cutting of an environmental boom protecting Bird Island in south Georgia.
The island is one of several impacted by the capsized Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simon Sound. As part of that salvage operation, protective booms surround several nearby marshes.
Bird Island is a sanctuary for nesting and migratory birds.
Officials at the Unified Command tell First Coast News the cuts were inconsistent with ordinary wear and tear, and appeared to be a clean cut.
Officials say they don't know what may have motivated anyone to slice through the cable, but say it was repaired and reported to the Brunswick Police Department.
The Golden Ray capsized with 4200 vehicles aboard in September 2019. The salvage operation is expected to continue several more months.
Michael Himes, US Coast Guard spokesperson for the Unified Command, says crews discovered the cut on Tuesday during ordinary inspection operations.
“It looks like a cable that’s been cut,” he says. “It’s uncharacteristic of what we’ve observed in two years.” He says that “natural wear and tear happens often and beats up our boom real bad,” which is why they check them routinely. Himes says this did not appear to be caused by time and the elements.
He declined to speculate on why anyone would want to cut through the protective barrier.
“We just keep focused on our responsibility, which is the salvage operation.”