Gallagher Marine donates masks to first responders

Gallagher Marine Systems, part of the Unified Command charged with removing the capsized Golden Ray from St. Simons Sound, on Monday donated 1,000 respirator masks to first responders in Glynn County, Georgia.

“When I heard Vice President Mike Pence’s plea for mask donations, I immediately called Gallagher Marine Systems’ senior leadership and pitched the idea of donating our excess supply of N95 masks,” said Chris Graff, the incident commander for Gallagher, the responsible party in the salvage operation, in an announcement Monday on the St. Simons Sound Response website.

The car carrier Golden Ray went aground and overturned while leaving the Port of Brunswick on Sept. 8. The roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessel, operated by the South Korean shipping and logistics company Hyundai Glovis, had a crew of 24 and 4,200 vehicles on board.

Gallagher Marine Systems is working in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to make up the Unified Command.

“I felt it was our duty to give back to a community that has supported us so much throughout the response to the Golden Ray,” Graff said.

Unified Command personnel delivered the 1,000 masks to the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency for distribution to first responders. Masks have been in great demand throughout the country to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Gallagher Marine donated respirator masks to first responders in Georgia. (Photo: St. Simons Sound Response)

The Golden Ray remains on its side in St. Simons Sound. The 2017-built Golden Ray is 656 feet long and 106 feet wide and has a capacity of 20,995 deadweight tons.

There were no serious injuries reported in the capsizing of the Golden Ray. Four crew members who were trapped inside the car carrier were extracted from the ship on Sept. 9.

The Port of Brunswick did not reopen to commercial vessel traffic 24 hours a day until mid-November.

The ship has 4,200 vehicles on board. (Photo: St. Simons Sound Response)

The Unified Command later announced its plan to cut up the Golden Ray, saying, “Maritime experts engaged in the response have determined that it is not possible to safely right and refloat the vessel in a fully intact condition.”

In early February the Unified Command laid the groundwork for the dismantling of the Golden Ray with the construction of an environmental protection barrier around the vessel to help contain surface pollutants.

Contractors will remove the wreck using a floating crane to cut through the hull. The plan is to make seven cuts and remove eight large sections. Each section of the Golden Ray, weighing 2,700 to 4,100 tons, will be lifted onto a barge and transported to a recycling facility.

The rudder and propeller already have been removed from the vessel. Removal of that approximately 130 tons of weight was intended to reduce stress on the hull.

Brunswick’s Colonel’s Island Terminal is a dedicated facility for ro-ro cargo and is owned and operated by the Georgia Ports Authority. GPA says it is the second-busiest port in the U.S. for total ro-ro cargo and second-busiest for ro-ro imports. It has three berths and three on-terminal auto processors.