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Environmentalists Still Concerned As Golden Ray Cargo Ship Wreck Hits 2-Year Anniversary

On May 14, residents watch firefighters hose down the hull of the overturned cargo ship Golden Ray in Brunswick. Engineers inspecting the Golden Ray have determined it was safe to continue demolition work for the first time since the wreck caught fire and burned for several hours.
On May 14, residents watch firefighters hose down the hull of the overturned cargo ship Golden Ray in Brunswick. Engineers inspecting the Golden Ray have determined it was safe to continue demolition work for the first time since the wreck caught fire and burned for several hours.
Credit Stephen B. Morton / Associated PRess

Two years ago the Golden Ray cargo ship capsized off Georgia’s coast. The car carrier had thousands of cars on board as it was leaving the Port of Brunswick on its way to Baltimore.

But it didn’t get far. It overturned near St. Simons Island, and there it has remained for two years now. There’s been a massive cleanup effort, where crews have worked to saw the ship into pieces to remove it, struggling with strong tides, while also trying to protect the delicate coastal environment around St. Simons and Jekyll Islands.

Just last month, as a piece of the ship was sawed off, oil washed under an environmental protection barrier – the most discharge seen from the wreck since the removal process began.

WABE’s environmental reporter Molly Samuel has followed the drama, and joined WABE’s Jim Burress on “All Things Considered” to update us on how far the cleanup efforts have come.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.