The city of Brunswick, Georgia, has had to deal with an unusual eyesore off its coast for the past six months — an overturned cargo ship carrying 4,200 cars. In September, the cargo ship, called the Golden Ray, capsized as it was leaving the Port of Brunswick, and six months later it’s still there. Now, however, crews will begin efforts to remove the ship in piecemeal, cutting it up into segments and removing each individually.
An offshore wreck like this has never happened before in the US, which is why it has taken so long to remove it. The 656-foot ship can be seen from nearby bridges and islands, and now the dismantling effort will be a spectacle that many will undoubtedly turn out to see.
The removal won’t be easy, however. Richard Burke, professor of marine engineering and naval architecture at the State University of New York Maritime College, said to NPR, “There are a number of things you have to worry about. First of all, the ship has — now the remains of — 4,200 vehicles.” Since the ship is on its side, that will also complicate the operation. Locals are concerned that the removal process will result in debris, as well as car oil and batteries contaminating the marine ecosystem.
On the bright side, no crew members were injured during the capsizing, and most of the ship’s fuel was removed from its tanks (after a fuel and oil leak in the fall after the ship overturned), preventing any seriously harmful damage to the environment.