Last of Golden Ray could leave St. Simons sound today


The last chunk of ship wreckage from the Golden Ray could depart around Monday’s noontime slack high tide in the St. Simons Sound, taking with it the last of the 656-foot-long vessel that capsized between Jekyll and St. Simons islands more than two years ago.

If conditions are favorable, a dry dock barge carrying the 4,090 metric-ton Section 4 of the shipwreck could head inland to a docking on the East River in Brunswick, said U.S. Coast Guardsman Michael Himes. Section 4 is the last visible vestige of the Golden Ray, which overturned Sept. 8, 2019, while heading out to sea with a cargo of 4,161 vehicles.

Guided by tugboats, the dry dock barge entered through the 1-mile-environmental barrier’s (EPB) east gate Sunday morning and slid between the twin hulls of the VB 10,000 crane vessel. Holding Section 4 suspended in its arching rafters, the crane vessel lowered the massive chunk of steel into a specially-built cradle on the deck of the dry dock barge. Welders boarded the dry dock barge and worked through the night Sunday securing the section into the steel-girded cradle.

Tug boats will guide the barge back out of the east gate, then ease it past the St. Simons Pier on its way up the Brunswick River, beneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge and into the East River.

Standing on its side on the dry dock barge, the shipwreck section stretches to more than 130 feet into the air.

T&T Salvage commenced in November with a plan to employ the VB 10,000 to power a cutting chain that tore the shipwreck into eight gigantic sections of several thousand metric tons each for removal from the sound.


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