Capsized cargo ship with 4,200 Hyundai, Kia cars to be cut open with massive chain

To mitigate the risk, the salvors will use barge-mounted fire monitors and will douse the cutting chain with water for the portion of the cut above the waterline.

By:Updated: Jul 10, 2020 1:17 PM
crane lifting lug golden rayImage: Maritime Executive

Turns out automotive cargo ship disasters are a thing. If not often, we do keep hearing about maritime mishaps involving cars somehow. The latest one we found on the Internet is the MV Golden Ray – a 656-foot long cargo carrier built-in 2017 at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea. After the midnight of 8 September 2019, the began to list after departing from Georgia’s Port of Brunswick carrying 4,200 Hyundai and Kia cars, and eventually capsized.

According to a Brunswick News report, all 24 crew were thankfully rescued by the Coast Guard. But the ship has been at the dock ever since and now the salvage operation is about to begin. “We expect fires,” the operation’s director told Brunswick News.

The salvage operation will involve a massive chain slicing through the vessel and its contents. The ship will be cut into pieces small enough to carry onto barges. We’re not sure what a ship-cutting chain looks like but we are intrigued. The process will have an arch-shaped lift vessel called the VB 1000 parked next to the capsized ship, followed by stretching a giant chain under it, and then start pulling it back and forth.

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After the MV Golden Ray is cut into eight pieces, it’ll be put onto barges and sent to Louisiana for recycling. It will definitely be as simple as just showing up and sawing a ship to pieces. There will be underwater nets, oil containment and debris response teams that will be ready to contain the cars or pollution.

As US Coast Guard Commander Norm Witt told the Brunswick News, “We’ve known from the beginning that dismantling a ship of this size is going to be a messy proposition.”

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