The following is text of a news release from St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command:
(ST. SIMONS SOUND, Ga.) — Unified Command response crews will strategically place rocks next to the hull of M/V Golden Ray to slow down erosion around the vessel starting October 28.
Strong area tidal currents in the sound have been causing erosion and transporting sediment. Once the vessel is completely dismantled and transferred out of the sound, the rocks will be removed using excavators with sieve buckets.
Trucks are delivering approximately 6,000 tons of rock from several rock quarries located within the state of Georgia. When operations begin, the rock will be transported by barge and placed on the seafloor using knuckle boom excavators and GPS for accuracy. Sonar technology will be used to guide the placement of the 1-to-3 inch aggregate rocks next to the hull of the vessel in real time.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have reviewed and approved the operation while engineers work to finalize a vessel removal plan.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as plans are developed to remove the ship and its cargo from the waterway,” said federal on-scene coordinator Norman Witt, Coast Guard commander for the Unified Command. “Response crews are working seven days a week, weather permitting, to prepare the motor vessel Golden Ray for removal.”
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the state of Georgia, Gallagher Marine Systems, and other local partners continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of its responders and the surrounding community.
The established 150-yard safety zone around M/V Golden Ray remains in effect and commercial traffic impact has been minimal.
Click here to read a story about the capsizing and crew rescue.