US Coast Guard Sector Charleston and Maritime Partners Awarded for Diligence and Collaboration in the MV Golden Ray Crew Rescue in St. Simons Sound

Public-Private Collaboration Dedicated to Time-Sensitive Rescue
By: CCROA/ReadyCommunities Partnership
WASHINGTON - Dec. 31, 2019 - PRLog -- U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston and public and private sector maritime partners across Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia are awarded the ReadyCommunities Partnership 2019 National Service Award for Diligence and Collaboration in the MV Golden Ray Crew Rescue.

On September 8, 2019, the 656-foot Golden Ray vessel, carrying Kia and Hyundai autos, was bound for the Port of Baltimore with a crew of 23 and 1 pilot when it capsized in St. Simons Sound.  Under the leadership of Incident Commander, Capt. John Reed, USCG Commander, Sector Charleston, resources were deployed and salvors and harbor pilots were engaged in a coordinated rescue.

A News4JAX video interview "We speak with Captain Reed from the Coast Guard" posted on September 10, 2019 captured the moment when the last crew member was rescued:

Rescuers overcame technical challenges and dangers to themselves during the multi-phased operation. With the vessel on its side, Capt. Reed said that saving the first 20 crew members by air and by sea was a challenge in itself when stating "…people made their way off through passageways that were no longer oriented the way they would be".

Within approximately 36-hours of capsizing, a fire and stabilization of the ship, rescue of the entire crew and pilot was successfully completed through the teamwork of individuals from many organizations including:

Brunswick Pilots, Defiant Marine, Donjon-SMIT Salvage, Gallagher Marine Systems, Georgia DNR, Georgia Ports Authority, Glynn County EMS, Moran Towing of Brunswick, Port of Brunswick, Sea Tow Brunswick, USCG Sector Charleston; Air Station Savannah, Marine Safety Unit Savannah, Search and Rescue Station Brunswick, and Salvage Engineering Response Team

The tactical rescue included drilling a hole in the steel hull to rescue the final four who remained faithful amidst the darkness, flooding, and high humidity and heat of nearly 140°F inside the ship.

Capt. John E. Cameron, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.) and Tradeworthy, Inc. President said "The Air Station Savannah hoisted a lot of crew members and put a rescue swimmer into the overturned wheel house."

Once the crew was rescued, Capt. Reed advised that the unified command had prioritized resumption of commerce and their focus on "all environmental concerns and vessel salvage".

ReadyCommunities Partnership National Service and Sacrifice Awards recognize individuals and organizations for exemplary service or pay tribute for the ultimate sacrifice in the first 72 hours of a large-scale crisis.  Prior RCP/CCROA awards have been presented at the National Congress for Secure Communities on Capitol Hill and in the port communities of Charleston, New Orleans and Long Beach.


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