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Capsized Vessel Remains Aground on its Side in St. Simons Sound as Responders Continue Oil Removal

OCTOBER 10, 2019 — A vessel that capsized early last month remains on its side in St. Simons Sound and continues to pose a pollution threat as responders work to remove the oil onboard. 

Two responders in protective gear spraying marsh.
Response personnel apply a sphagnum moss-based sorbent to freshly oiled marsh grass on Oct. 8. Spaghnum is used in marsh areas to prevent the spread of fresh oil and allow for its natural degradation. Image credit: Unified Command.

M/V Golden Ray, a 655-foot roll-on/roll off vehicle carrier, capsized in St. Simons Sound near the Port of Brunswick, Georgia on Sept. 8. Early response efforts prioritized search and rescue for four crew members, and extinguishing a fire that broke out. The crew of 24, including four who were trapped in the engine room, were all safely rescued. 

The Golden Ray was carrying its own fuel and lube oil at the time it capsized. In addition to the vessel’s own fuel capacity, the cargo poses a pollution risk, as the cars aboard each contain fuel, lube oil, batteries and other fluids and chemicals. 

The vessel has had several discharges of oil over the past month. Systematic shoreline surveys have found patchy oiling on nearby shorelines, including marsh habitats. Some wildlife has been affected. The Unified Command is partnering with local stakeholder groups to track and evaluate reported sightings of oil, including working with permitted wildlife specialists to locate, examine and rehabilitate potentially oiled wildlife.

The Georgia Department of Health has issued a swimming and fishing advisory, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website or call (844) 863-0325 for further public health information and advisories. Specialists continue to actively monitor air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island.

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Last updated Friday, October 18, 2019 3:52pm PDT