A cargo ship carrying an estimated 4,200 cars that capsized off the Georgia coast in the United States recently could remain in the sea for the one next year.
The Golden Ray capsized soon after it departed the Port of Brunswick, about 112 kilometres south of Savannah.
The ship’s pilot and 23 crew members were all safely rescued, including four men trapped for 36 hours before they could be extracted through a hole drilled into the hull.
The final male to emerge, who was trapped behind a glass wall, returned to the outside world to applause and later paused to look at the sky and was beaming just as he was led away by the rescue team.
That’s the long-range outlook of Coast Guard Commander, Matt Baer, a member of the Unified Command tasked with removing the ship that capsized.
Baer said the Golden Ray has been slowly sinking in the sand because of powerful tides. He said the situation makes it impossible to get the ship upright without breaking it apart and creating an even bigger problem.
“It’s going to be a while. We want to do this right,” he said.
Lieutenant Lloyd Heflin, who organised the rescue mission, described it as the “best day of my 16-year career.”
He said the four South Koreans who were trapped aboard the Golden Ray were in the propeller shaft room near the stern of the ship and that rescuers cut into the hull there to pull them out after temperatures soared above 120F.
The now crippled behemoth requires dismantling and a removal plan, that must take into account an estimated 4,200 cars that are inside.
One step that helped its plight, so far: Large rocks were dumped around the ship to keep it from shifting during incoming and outgoing tides.
According to Baer, the rate of sinking into the sand has been slowed considerably by the rocks.
The Brunswick newspaper reports that divers have been going inside the capsized vessel to remove oil and other possible contaminants that could pollute area waterways.
Source: Associated Press