Final missing crewmember rescued from capsized cargo vessel

All four crewmembers that had been trapped inside the engine spaces of the 656’x83′ vehicle carrier Golden Ray that caught fire early Sunday morning after departing the Port of Brunswick, Ga., have now been rescued. The Coast Guard said three crewmembers were safely extracted from the vessel at approximately 3 p.m. Monday and the fourth and final crewmember was rescued about three hours later.

Coast Guard and salvage crews extracted the remaining four Golden Ray crewmembers on Sept. 9, 2019, in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Ga. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Station Brunswick

At a media briefing yesterday afternoon, Capt. John Reed, commander of Coast Guard Sector Charleston, said the fourth crewman was “probably at the greatest risk of all four to tell you the truth.”

The rescued crewmembers were taken to the hospital for medical evaluation, said Reed. Twenty of the 24 crewmembers had been rescued earlier Sunday.

The Golden Ray departed the Brunswick port bound for Baltimore about 1 a.m. Sunday when it suffered a fire on board.

At approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, Coast Guard Sector Charleston watchstanders were notified by the Glynn County 911 dispatch that the Golden Ray had capsized in St. Simons Sound. Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of multiple Coast Guard assets.

Coast Guard crews and port partners responded to the disabled 656’ vehicle carrier Golden Ray on Sept. 8, 2019, in St. Simons Sound, Ga. U.S. Coast Guard photo

The Golden Ray‘s crew size is 24, made up of 23 crewmembers and one pilot. The 6,933-AEU (automobile equivalent units) Golden Ray was built in 2017 and is owned by Hyundai Glovis.

Coast Guard units and partner agencies involved in the response:

  • Two Coast Guard Station Brunswick Response Boat crews
  • Two Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews
  • Coast Guard Cutter Heron launched to assist
  • Coast Guard Sector Charleston
  • Marine Safety Unit Savannah
  • Coast Guard Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT)
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Moran Towing
  • SeaTow
  • Brunswick Bar Pilots Association
  • Glynn County Fire Department
  • Other response teams

The Port of Brunswick Captain of the Port (COTP) has established an emergency safety zone in St. Simons Sound. Vessels are not authorized within .5 miles of the Golden Ray.

Also assisting in the response are the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Moran Towing, SeaTow, Brunswick Bar Pilots Association, and the Glynn County Fire Department. The effort brought in “technical expertise from around the world” to help plan the rescue, said Reed.

The cause of the incident is under investigation. The Coast Guard has shifted operations completely to environmental protection, removing the vessel safely and resuming commerce.

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