Four seafarers have been rescued from the hull of the PCTC Golden Ray after it capsized just outside the Port of Brunswick in Georgia.
At this stage it is not known what caused the 199.5m Golden Ray to capsize in the St. Simons Sound after it departed the Port of Brunswick just after 1am on 8 September. The vessel is operated by Hyundai Glovis, which provides finished vehicle logistics from Brunswick for Hyundai and Kea, among other car manufacturers.
The Golden Ray was delivered in 2017 and has a capacity of 6,933 AEU (Accent (Hyundai) Equivalent Units) over four decks. It was said to be carrying over 4,000 vehicles when it departed Brunswick for Baltimore.
It appears the vessel overturned quickly on its port side. The Coast Guard was alerted to the incident by people watching from the shore, and responded at 2am with other local services in an emergency operation to remove 20 of the 24 people onboard (23 crew and a pilot) to safety.
When the Coast Guard arrived there was a fire on the starboard side towards the rear of the vessel, but it is not known whether it started before or after the capsize. The rescue operation had to be suspended because of the fire and the position of the vessel.
At that time Lt. Lloyd Hoflin from the Coast Guard said the rescue was a “complex operation”, and the Coast Guard was working with the master, first mate and engineer to plan how to reach the four remaining crew. After hearing tapping on the hull rescue workers were able to locate three of the crew in a propellor room. Cutting a hole in the hull and using cameras the three crew were located and provided with food and water while a larger access for their rescue was prepared. The fourth crew member was located in a separate control room and rescued after fire doors were cut open.
The Coast Guard southeast division said attention now turns to environmental protection, removing the vessel and resuming commerce. At this stage the Port of Brunswick is closed to vessel traffic. Hyundai Glovis has contracted marine vessel emergency response provider Donjon-SMIT to provide salvage services.
Although it is not known what caused the vessel to capsize, it happened after Hurricane Dorian had moved up the coast. Storms have been known to deposit layers of sand and sediment into the port’s channel in the past.
*This story has been changed to reflect the successful rescue of the crew some 30 hours after initial incident.