Yesterday, the cargo ship Golden Ray tipped over just off the coast of Georgia. The vessel had 23 crew members and one pilot on board at the time of the accident. After evacuating crew members from the ship, authorities were still in the process of finding four missing workers. This morning, a salvage team contacted the missing crew members and officials are working on a way to reach them.
What Happened on Sunday Morning?
The Golden Ray is a 656-foot South Korean cargo ship designed to transport motor vehicles. It’s owned by Hyundai Glovis and was unloaded and reloaded by longshoreman at the Port of Brunswick, one of the busiest motor vehicle ports in the United States. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that the boat began listing heavily, at about 80 degrees, before it overturned. Longshoremen who loaded the vessel have said that the process went smoothly and nothing seemed strange.
The vessel’s crew sent calls for help at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. When rescuers arrived, they faced the challenge of retrieving crew members escaping through various sections of this ship. Some of the crew members were hoisted into helicopters while others were lowered onto rescue ships using fire hose. According to U.S. Coast Guard Capt. John Reed, fires broke out on the ship during rescue efforts and responders couldn’t reach four of the crew members because of them.
"As smoke and flames began to appear our crews, along with the Glynn County heavy rescue team, assessed that the situation was too risky to further go inside the vessel to attempt to locate the four individuals who remain missing at this time," Reed said.
Responders needed to wait until conditions on the ship stabilized before continuing their rescue efforts. In the meantime, rescued crew members received bags with essentials such as clothing, hygiene items, and games. CNN reports that the crew members are from South Korea and the Philippines.
An Investigation is Underway
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent two investigators to the scene of the incident. They are expected to arrive on Monday. The Coast Guard’s damage assessment team, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the Glynn County Fire Department are also assisting with the incident. South Korea also sent a consul from the Consulate General in Atlanta to help rescued South Korean crew members.
Officials are monitoring pollution from the ship. So far, they’ve said that no “active release” of pollution has been detected. Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division will test the water in the area to monitor conditions for shellfish harvesting and swimming beaches.