Golden Ray ship removal could last through end of 2020

Removal may take another year

ST. SIMONS SOUND, Ga. — Action News Jax is learning the best estimate for removing the Golden Ray from the St. Simons Sound is by the end of 2020.

Tom Wiker works for Gallagher Marine Systems and is tasked with representing the ship's owners locally as part of the Unified Command.


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Gallagher, the Coast Guard and Georgia Department of Natural Resources make up the Unified Command handling the removal process.

He tells us the ship needs to be cut up in order to be removed but the plans on how to do it are still being developed.

"We have teams, including the U.S Coast Guard, the Navy and we've got people in Holland, as well as locally here, that are all working on plans right now to develop the best strategies for safe removal of the wreck," said Wiker.

Wiker tells us Unified Command crews are running drills with booming systems to stay fresh in the event of a similar emergency.

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Action News Jax obtained video from the Unified Command showing the crews practicing with the booming systems.

"So, the idea is really to keep the people that we have here training constantly if there were to be another release from the ship," he tells us.

As the plans to remove the ship are being finalized, crews are removing oil and have removed about 317,000 gallons thus far.