For almost two years residents of Brunswick Georgia have enjoyed courtside seats to one of the most botched salvage operations in recent memory. With a simple pair of binoculars, they could see fire, injuries, structural issues, lawsuits, and delays unfold aboard the nowinfamous ship M/V Golden Ray. Today local residents no longer need binoculars. Today they can step into the water at local beaches and feel oil between their toes.
A large amount of oil has escaped under the barrier surrounding the Golden Ray, the Coast Guard said yesterday. US Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Himes said it was hard to estimate how much oil leaked from the wreckage but it has affected marsh grass along the shoreline. Helicopter footage of the spill shows a large oil sheen moving directly inland.
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Salvage crews began noticing the leak around 8 a.m. yesterday while cutting away the 5th section of the Golden Ray. “A significant amount of oil leaked from the shipwreck,” said local news reporter Larry Hobbs. “The wreck sent large fuel sheens speckled with oil globules into the inland waters as the Fourth of July weekend opens in the resort community.”
The salvage operation’s flotilla of oil response boats is trying to clean up the oil leak with oilskimmer equipped vessels and absorbent boom, Himes said. There is no word yet on how oil will be removed from the inland waterways and beaches or what wildlife will be affected.
This is not the first oil spill at the site. Early last month a spill occurred during cutting operations. At that time mitigation efforts focused on the shoreline and the vicinity of the wreck site. It is unclear why work was allowed to resume without a better oil spill containment plan in place.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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