Salvaging cargo ships often is a painstaking process that involves millions of dollars. The 656-foot Golden Ray overturned near the Port of Brunswick in early September.
Officials said the completion of the fuel removal has “significantly reduced the remaining threat to the environment” and has helped move them closer to full removal of the wreck.
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Naval architects and salvors developed the plan to remove the vessel’s propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, which have a combined weight of 130 tons. Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah Winston described the stress to the ship positioned on its side as similar to holding a milk jug in an outstretched arm instead of arm down to the side.
The propeller and rudder that were removed from the ship will be donated to the state. The state Department of Natural Resources will decide which parts to use as artificial reef and where they will be placed.
Efforts have now shifted to constructing an environmental protection barrier to be erected before removal operations begin on the Golden Ray. “We are currently evaluating proposals for how to enclose the Golden Ray to prevent pollution or debris that may be released from reaching the larger environment,” said Campbell Houston, a spokesman for the joint information center.
The target date for full removal of the wreck is the end of 2020.