New Cradle Receives Golden Ray Wreckage Section For Transportation | Breaking
Equipped with a new cradle designed to resist damage, a dry-docked barge received the penultimate section of the wreckage of the Golden Ray around noon on Saturday.
Guided by barges Kurt Crosby, Crosby Star and the Caitlin, the barge slid under the twin hulls of the 255-foot-tall VB 10,000 crane vessel, which held the 3,300 metric-ton Section 5 suspended in its huge arches. for three weeks.
The powerful crane ship then deposited the midsection of the wreckage on the deck and in its specially designed cradle shortly before 1 p.m.
“They are lowering the section,” said US Coast Guard Michael Himes, spokesman for the United Command. “They carefully align it with the cradle system.”
The damaged port side of the section rests on the barge deck with the starboard side of the hull rising more than 130 feet above the head. Section 5 is 74 feet long. Its width is 135 feet and it measures 113 feet from keel to deck.
Workers will now secure the massive section to the barge’s deck by welding it into the cradle, which consists of large steel beams protruding from both sides of the deck. Once secured, the barge and its cargo will be towed to inland waters, where its section will be moored pending dismantling at a site on Bay Street along the East River in Brunswick.
Based on the previous six operations, this securing procedure could take a day or more.
Salvors began the operation in November of using the VB 10,000 to cut the half-submerged wreckage into eight pieces to remove it from the sound.
His departure will leave rescuers with an 80-foot-long section of wreckage to remove from the sound. Section 4 weighs approximately 4,909 metric tonnes.
It has been more than two years since the 656-foot-long Golden Ray overturned on its port side in the waters between Jekyll Islands and St. Simons on September 8, 2019, as it set out to sea with a cargo of 4,161 vehicles.
Powered by the powerful winch, pulley and cable systems of the VB 10,000, the VB 10,000 pulled a huge cutting chain through the seventh and final cut into the ship’s half-submerged wreck on September 4.
Then engineers and rescue masters confirmed their concerns almost a week later that Section 5 suffered more damage than expected. It was at this point that the VB 10,000 hoisted the section completely out of the water to give the experts a first glimpse of the damage to the wreck’s port hull. The damage included entire parts of the outer hull that were missing.
Sections 5 and 4 included the middle of the Golden Ray, which sustained the brunt of the impact when the vessel capsized on the sandbank next to the shipping channel. Salvors predicted significant damage to Section 5, but this could not be confirmed as the middle sections of the wreckage were sunk into the sandy bottom the entire time.
Due to the damage, rescue experts had to design and build a “sturdier” cradle on the barge’s deck to safely secure the section of the wreckage for transport, Himes explained.
Each transport barge previously had a specially designed cradle on its deck, consisting primarily of several large steel posts to which the wreck section was securely welded by its keel section. Due to the additional damage to Section 5, engineers added several more of these steel structures to secure the section on the opposite side as well.
Design and construction of this reinforced cradle system began about two weeks ago.
Once Section 5 is removed, the stage will be set for the removal of the last section of the castaway Golden Ray. Section 4 weighs approximately 4,904 metric tonnes.
The wreckage recovery site is surrounded by a one-mile perimeter Environmental Protection Barrier (EPB), which includes a heavy-duty mesh net underwater to contain bulk vehicles and other large debris. The oil retention dam lines its surface. The barge enters and exits the EPB through a door.