A major salvage operation is underway on the US east coast after it was decided not to refloat a grounded and listing car carrier
US salvors will dismantle a partially capsized and listing pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) that has been battered by storms and polluted an estuary in the US.
PCTC Golden Ray was partially capsized in St. Simons Sound, Georgia, when the pilot deliberately grounded the 20,000-dwt ship in response to a fire on board on 8 September. It was sailing out with 4,200 vehicles on board and was grounded on a soft seabed.
Attempts to refloat the vessel have so far failed and the US Unified Command handling the salvage has decided to disassemble the ship in situ. It believes attempting to right and refloat this ship would not be technically feasible.
Instead, it plans to remove Golden Ray’s hull, components and cargo without refloating the ship.
Based on previous salvage projects of this scale, dismantling Golden Ray would require crane barges, tugs and associated support vessels and equipment.
Donjon and Smit already have tugs and personnel on the salvage site, having initially responded to the incident under their OPA Alliance. They concentrated efforts on saving the 23-man crew and removing pollutants and fuel from the car carrier.
Unified Command includes the US Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems.
After the capsize, all crew were rescued including four seafarers trapped in the ship’s engineroom.
Over the past week, salvors have been lightering fuel from the listed ship. Around 1,023,000 litres of fuel have been removed to date from the fore fuel oil tanks.
Lightering the remaining fuel and lubricant tanks and associated pollution mitigation continues. As does an investigating how the fire started and why the ship was grounded and became partially capsized.
Around 200 responders and 40 vessels were engaged in the pollution response. 1.6 km of boom has been deployed and another 5 km of boom is being held in reserve.
Pollution from the capsized ship has been reported in St. Simons Sound from Cedar Creek to the Port of Brunswick.
Moran’s tugs attended the emergency, as seen from this
Anti-pollution operations will also be required in the Red Sea following reports of an oil spill from an Iranian tanker that was claimed to be damaged by a terrorist attack last week.
NASA satellite imagery of the incident site indicated a slick of oil coming from a tanker operated by National Iranian Oil Co (NITC) off Jeddah.
NITC said tanker Sabiti suffered damage to two oil tanks on the starboard side. This Suezmax tanker was sailing on a southerly route through the Red Sea. On 13 October it stopped at an anchorage off the Eritrea coast.
Salvage teams will also be required on the southern coast of Corsica in the Mediterranean after a general cargo ship ran aground on a rocky shore, reportedly at full speed.
General cargo ship Rhodanus was in transit from Taranto, Italy, to southern France, when it missed a waypoint turning and grounded near Bonifacio, Corsica, on 13 October.
It is thought the officer of the watch lost awareness of the situation, missed the turning point and then did not respond to traffic control radio calls that tried to alert the bridge of the upcoming emergency.
The 1998-built and 2,056-gt ship will required refloating and perhaps more structured salvage operations depending on how it is connected to the shore.
Another general cargo ship was lost and seven crew are missing off Japan in the aftermath of typhoon Hagibis. The 1,925-gt Panamanian ship sank in Tokyo Bay while at anchor on 12 October. Of the 12 crew, four, including the master, were rescued, one found dead and seven remain missing.