On Friday, crews began to cut up the cargo ship that’s been stuck on its side off the Georgia coast for more than a year.
The Golden Ray will be sliced into eight sections with a chain sawing back and forth from below. Each cut is expected to take about 24 hours, and the entire process will take at least two months.
The car carrier still has 4,200 cars inside.
“We expect there will be noise, fires, product discharges, and debris once we begin the cutting and lifting process. It would be unrealistic to say that this operation will be clean and perfect,” John Maddox, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said in a press release. He’s the state’s representative in the multiagency response team.
There’s a barrier set up around the ship meant to trap oil and debris. And people are out on boats watching for it, too, as well as monitoring the beaches and marshes.
Sue Inman with the environmental group Altamaha Riverkeeper was watching from a boat nearby on Friday afternoon.
“This is a long time coming. With all the delays, it was just looming over us,” she said. “They have their team ready, we’re ready, and the community’s ready for this to be the beginning of the end.”
The 565-foot Golden Ray capsized in the St. Simons Sound as it was leaving Brunswick in September 2019.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Coast Guard held hearings on the cause of the wreck. That report is expected next year.