A knuckle boom excavator picks up 1-to-3-inch rock-aggregate from a container barge in St. Simons Sound. The excavator guided by sonar and GPS, strategically places the rock next to the hull of the M/V Golden Ray to slow erosion.
Caption
A knuckle boom excavator picks up 1-to-3-inch rock-aggregate from a container barge in St. Simons Sound. The excavator guided by sonar and GPS, strategically places the rock next to the hull of the M/V Golden Ray to slow erosion.

Crews on the Georgia coast this week placed rocks along the hull of the Golden Ray, the capsized container ship in the St. Simons sound. It’s an effort to keep the ship stable.To keep the Golden Ray stable, crews are placing rocks around the capsized ship's hull.

 

The Golden Ray is sitting on its side in the water. High currents are eroding the sand all around the hull of the ship.

 

Coast Guard Commander Norm Witt said that means the vessel is sitting on an ever-shrinking pedestal.

 

“If you’re only supporting all of the weight in the center, you start to get flex on either side. Drooping, if you will," Witt said. "And so that creates stresses on the structure.”

 

If that stress continued, it could eventually separate welded parts of the ship.

 

Witt said the blanket of rocks to slow erosion is one step in the effort to limit environmental impacts until the Golden Ray can be removed.