The removal operations for capsized Glovis car carrier Golden Ray has been suspended due to the risk of coronavirus, The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command announced the decision through an online media conference.
The 7,700 ceu car carrier capsized and caught fire at the Port of Brunswick, Georgia in September last year.
The Unified Command said it is implementing enhanced protection and mitigation protocols against COVID-19 as well as delaying the cutting and lifting operations of the vessel until after peak hurricane season.
“While we are proud of the fact that our response protocols and responder discipline have held COVID-19 at bay until early July, Covid-19 has finally impacted this response.” said incident commander Tom Wiker of Gallagher Marine Systems.
According to Wiker, so far 10 responders have tested positive and more than 50 responders, out of approximately 300 personnel, have been quarantined due to contact tracing.
“Although COVID-19 and the weather conditions during this time of year are two separate issues, they should be considered jointly as they both relate to the overall project success. Separately these impacts are difficult to manage but together they create a uniquely challenging situation. As safety of responders and the public along with the environment have and continue to be our primary objectives, the Unified Command has made the difficult decision to pause the cutting and lifting operations,” said Wiker.
The Unified Command said the ship is stable and is not expected to impact the deep water channel or commercial ship traffic during the pause. Responders continue to monitor the vessel using on-site monitoring systems on a 24-hour basis.