Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes

GA - Photos: Towering VB10000 Arrives at Golden Ray Wreck Site

The heavy lift vessel VB10000 has arrived in St. Simons Sound, Georgia for the highly anticipating cutting and lifting operation in the salvage of the Golden Ray.

The vessel arrived Tuesday and is now in place above the capsized wreck. The vessel will us a 3-inch anchor chain to cut the wreck into eight sections weighing thousands of tons apiece. The chain will move at roughly 8 feet per minute to slowly cut through the wreck from the bottom up then switch to a tungsten carbide cutting chain for any “top-down” cuts when necessary.

The VB10000 will then lift and place the sections on barges and dry docks inside the Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB) for transport to a shore-side recycling facility.

The U.S.-flagged VB10000, with its towering 178-foot-tall twin-gantry cranes, has been being prepared for job at the Port of Fernandina, Florida. Meanwhile, the vessel’s crew has been sequestered inside a “bubble” in order to mitigate their COVID-19 exposure ahead of the operation.

The Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded as it departed the Port of Brunswick more than a year ago in September 2019. All vehicles remain inside the ship’s cargo holds.

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