Environmental conditions are being monitored after a ship leaving Brunswick capsized in the St. Simons Sound early Sunday morning and all marin traffic in the area was halted.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is evaluating coastal environmental conditions following the capsizing of a commercial freight vessel. As of 9:00 A.M., the U.S. Coast Guard was still working to rescue four crewmembers trapped inside, according to U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Pace of the guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Savannah. 18 people have been rescued.
The 656-foot, 71,000-ton vessel Golden Ray is also on fire, leading an emergency spill response crew to activate and station nearby at the city of Brunswick boat ramp beneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge. The Coast Guard is preparing to deploy spill containment booms around the Golden Ray. It is unclear at this time if fuel has leaked from the ship.
The Coastal Resources Division of DNR will conduct water-quality sampling to ensure the safety of shellfish harvesting beds and swimming beaches. Shellfish harvest and beach closure updates have not yet been issued.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division, a branch of DNR, has been notified of the capsizing and is monitoring the situation.
The Golden Ray is a roll-on, roll-off ship used to transport vehicles. There were 4,200 vehicles aboard the ship when it capsized. It was built in 2017 and sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands, according to the vesselfinder.com. The name of the ship’s owner was not immediately available.