Massive fire on the car carrier Golden Ray that capsized in the St. Simons Sound near the Port of Brunswick in Georgia, United States on September 8, 2019.
Shortly before 5:30 p.m., Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez gave a news briefing and said the fire sparked during cutting operations that were happening on the ship. He said the fire broke out and spread among the vehicles on board the ship.
The wreckage of the 656-foot Golden Ray caught fire during salvage operations on Friday and seawater was used to extinguish the blaze, according to the US Coast Guard.
Lopez said all nonessential personnel have been evacuated safely. He said no injuries were reported.
Additionally, Lopez said environmental concerns were “minimal,” and that the fires are on the top decks — not at sea level. He said seawater was being used to suppress the fires as opposed to chemical extinguishers.
The Coast Guard also is monitoring air quality around the vessel and has not seen anything that would cause concern, Lopez said.
Responders were conducting pre-cutting operations and actively using fire-suppression systems as a preventative measure when the fire began, Lopez said, adding that the Coast Guard anticipated fires breaking out as workers began work on cutting the wreckage.
The Marshall Island flagged MV Golden Ray was carrying 4200 cars onboard when she capsized off the St. Simons Sound near the Port of Brunswick in Georgia, United States on September 8, 2019 with 23 crew members, and a Pilot onboard.
The wreckage has remained in the water ever since then. The Coast Guard and other agencies developed a plan to remove the wreckage, which began in earnest in November 2020 after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and last summer’s active hurricane season.