GOLDEN RAY SALVAGE: The Final Assessment


June 22/2022:  We need some closure on this, I think. I twice transited the wreck site where the 656-foot car carrier Golden Ray lay on its side in St. Simons Sound in Georgia—first in November 2019, just two months after the giant brick of a ship capsized. Then again in May 2020, as I departed Brunswick, Georgia, where I had stashed the good ship Lunacy for what turned out to be the inaugural season of the Covid pandemic.

I later mentioned that the salvage operation, an immensely complicated procedure, had finally begun, but never followed up after that. As you can see from the image above, there were definitely some problems.

Rather than belabor you with a written description of how everything turned out, I’d like to share this YouTube video, which concisely treats both how the accident occurred and how the awful mess got cleaned up.

The simplistic tale I heard in bars in Brunswick shortly after the capsize was that the local pilot leading the ship out had noticed the ship was listing a bit when he first boarded. He suggested the skipper adjust the ship’s water ballast, and the skipper declined, saying he’d make adjustments once out in open water. They met another inbound car carrier at the one big corner in the St. Simons channel. Turning sharply to give it room, they started rolling and just kept going.

This account seems to be at least partially validated in the video, but the true cause of the accident, in the end, was a bit more complicated.

This is the first I’ve heard about doors being open when they left.

That’s a big dopeslap right there.

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