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Extra virus safeguards planned for overturned ship removal

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Extra virus safeguards planned for overturned ship removal

Salvage workers coming to the Georgia coast to cut apart and remove a cargo ship that overturned a year ago will be sequestered at a nearby resort to protect them from the coronavirusBy RUSS BYNUM Associated PressSeptember 8, 2020, 8:45 PM• 3 min readSAVANNAH, Ga. — Workers coming to the Georgia coast to cut apart…

Extra virus safeguards planned for overturned ship removal

Salvage workers coming to the Georgia coast to cut apart and remove a cargo ship that overturned a year ago will be sequestered at a nearby resort to protect them from the coronavirus

By

RUSS BYNUM Associated Press

September 8, 2020, 8:45 PM

3 min read

Tuesday marked a year since the South Korean freighter Golden Ray capsized off St. Simons Island soon after leaving port on Sept. 8, 2019. Experts determined the ship was too badly damaged to be floated out intact, so they plan to slice it into eight massive pieces for removal by barge.

The salvage team still hopes to begin the cutting in early October, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes, a spokesman for the command.

Himes confirmed the command has booked the resort Epworth by the Sea to keep about 100 salvage workers housed in a “bubble” for a four-month period. The resort will be closed to the general public Sept. 22 through Jan. 21. Its website says it has lodging for 1,000 overnight guests. The Brunswick News first reported the plan, citing a letter by Epworth CEO Joel Willis.

“Once we start cutting, the ship gets more vulnerable and there’s a lot of different factors that could impact the schedule,” Himes said. “The one we think we can have the best control over is COVID-19.”

First, all arriving crew members will be housed at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine period to ensure they’re not infectious before being transferred to the resort, Himes said. Even after that, they will be subjected to daily temperature checks and other safety protocols.

Himes noted the resort booking, like the rest of the salvage operation, is being paid for by the ship’s owner and its insurer.

A towering, floating crane will straddle the shipwreck and saw it into pieces using massive anchor chains. It will leave the Georgia coast in eight chunks weighing up to 4,100 tons (3,720 metric tonnes) apiece. The automobiles inside will either be hauled off in a bundle with the huge ship pieces or fall into the water for retrieval later.

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The entire removal should take about eight weeks, Himes said, barring any further interruptions.

Dangerous weather could force more delays. Hurricane season won’t end until Dec. 1, and storms so far have been spawning in the Atlantic Ocean at a record-setting pace. On Monday, Tropical Storm Rene became the Atlantic’s earliest 17th named storm on record.

“We’re still on track to begin in early October, but of course that is a fluid timeline,” Himes said. “We’re monitoring the weather every day.”


ABC News


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