Engine section

The Golden Ray’s engine section sets off to sea to be recycled in Louisiana on Saturday.

Under tow aboard the barge 455-7, the shipwrecked Golden Ray’s severed engine section headed out of the St. Simons Sound around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

After passing a U.S. Coast Guard inspection for ocean transit, the 6,300-ton chunk of steel known as Section 7 to salvors is in route to the Modern American Recycling Services facility in Gibson, La. Standing on its port side at 135-feet-tall from the barge deck to the sky, Section 7 follows in the path of the three previous sections removed from the shipwreck: the bow (Section 1), the stern (Section 8), and Section 2 at the fore.

By far the most trying of the four cuts into the Golden Ray, Section 7 salvage efforts began in earnest Jan. 27 and were not completed until April 24. In between, salvors employed a strategic retreat from cutting efforts on Section 7 to focus on cutting Section 2. The 255-foot-tall VB 10,000 and the cutting chain it powers completed the Section 2 cut in eight days, from March 7 to March 15.

Meanwhile, the VB 10,000 began cycling the cutting chain through its cut into Section 3 at about 8 p.m. Thursday. Salvors hope not to encounter another cut as vexing as Section 7, which posed the challenge of cutting through scads of dense reinforced steel support around the ship’s engine.

The 656-foot-long Golden Ray overturned between St. Simons and Jekyll islands on Sept. 8, 2019, with a cargo of 4,200 vehicles. About 300 feet of the half-submerged ship remains in the sound.

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The VB 10,000 steered clear of its cutting position astride the shipwrecked Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound on Saturday morning, pausing for maintenance work on the massive 255-foot-tall crane vessel, said U.S. Coast Guardsman Michael Himes, spokesman for Unified Command.

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