Last Sunday, the cargo ship Golden Ray tipped over off the coast of Georgia. The South Korean ship, owned by Hyundai Glovis, had over 4,000 cars loaded on it at the time of the incident. Longshoremen had just finished loading the ship at the Port of Brunswick. When the boat tipped over at about 2 a.m., responders arrived shortly after and rescued 20 of the 24 crew members from the ship. Crew members included 10 South Koreans, 13 Filipinos, and an American harbor pilot. Fires on the ship forced crews to postpone their search for the remaining four crew members.
The Rescue of the Last Four Crew Members
Then, on Monday morning, a salvage crew heard tapping from inside the 656-foot ship. The sounds were enough for rescuers to determine the location of the missing crew members. Three of the crew members were together when rescuers reached them. Glass trapped the fourth crew member in an engineering room. While three of the men had access to food and water, the trapped man had no access to sustenance of any type.
Coast Guard members rappelled down the side of the ship and drilled through its thick hull. Coast Guard Capt. John Reed said that they were able to drill a hole that was about two feet by three feet wide to reach the crew members. All four of the men were alert upon rescue and were examined at a local hospital.
With all crew members accounted for, the Coast Guard is now focusing on environmental protection as they work to remove the overturned vessel. The massive cargo ship is currently blocking other ships from entering the port. Additionally, members of the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the accident.
Why Did the Golden Ray Roll Over?
Reports about the incident say that the ship was listing heavily, at about 80 degrees, before it tipped over. Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the NTSB, said that the accident is perplexing in a comment to USA Today.
Goelz said that the port seems to have no massive rocks in its channel which could have torn a hole in the hull of the ship. "How do you get enough water in there to essentially sink the ship so quickly?" he said. While the cars in the vessel could have shifted, Goelz thinks that it would take a significant movement of weight to overturn the ship. Goelz said that one possibility is that someone forgot to close one of the large doors which allows cars and trucks to come and go from the Golden Ray.