The last giant piece of the Georgia shipwreck removed from the water
The last giant piece of an overturned freighter was pulled from the waters along the Georgian coast on Monday, nearly a year after demolition began on the wreckage which had overturned with 4,200 automobiles in its decks of cargo.
Weighing in excess of 4,000 metric tons (4,410 US tons), the eighth and final section of the South Korean freighter Golden Ray left the wreck site off St. Simons Island after a crane l ‘descended on a large barge equipped with a special cradle to hold the debris.
“This is the end of the wreckage removal phase,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes, spokesperson for the multi-agency demolition command.
But the recovery work is not done. Large pieces of the side of the ship and other debris were left after the center of the ship, the most damaged part of the ship, was cut in half, Himes said. These are the last two sections deleted.
Cleaning up that stray debris and wreckage that has fallen from other larger sections, including some cars, will take two weeks or more, Himes said. Next, crews will remove the metal shipping containers and rocks placed around the partly submerged wreckage to stabilize it during demolition, along with the giant mesh barrier installed around the site to contain the debris.
This should all be completed before the end of the year, Himes said.
Meanwhile, the last two large sections taken from the wreckage site must be broken down further before they can leave Georgia for a salvage yard in Louisiana. Himes said it likely won’t be done until early 2022.
The vessel capsized sideways on September 9, 2019, shortly after leaving Brunswick Harbor. All crew members were safely rescued, but rescue experts estimated the ship itself, measuring 656 feet (199 meters) long, to be a total loss.
The United States National Transportation Safety Board reported that the combined losses totaled more than $ 204 million. The agency concluded that an officer’s error in calculating the vessel’s stability left its center of gravity too high, causing the vessel to capsize.
They decided to step over the wreckage with a towering crane and use a long anchor chain fed by winches and pulleys to slowly saw it into eight giant pieces for removal.
Demolition work began on November 6 and was periodically interrupted by chain breaks, a large fire that engulfed the wreckage after being set off by cutting torches and oil leaks that fouled 4 kilometers of beach and swamp grasses.
Some environmentalists have asked the multi-agency command overseeing the demolition for a formal assessment to determine the extent of ecological damage from the spills of oil and other pollutants from the wreckage. No decision has been announced.