The heavy-lift vessel VB 10,000 arrives at the Golden Ray wreck site
Caption
The heavy-lift vessel VB 10,000 arrives at the Golden Ray wreck site on Oct. 27, 2020. The vessel will be used to cut and lift the wreck sequentially into eight sections to be placed on barges and dry docks inside the Environmental Protection Barrier.
Credit: St. Simons Sound Incident photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes

The heavy-lift vessel that will cut up the capsized cargo ship Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound has arrived.

The VB 10,000 will be used to cut the vessel into eight sections and place them on barges for removal. 

It will happen inside an Environmental Protection Barrier designed to keep anything released from the ship, such as oil, from spreading into the water and marshes beyond, as happened last year after the ship capsized.

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Environmental groups have raised concerns about the plan to remove the ship in eight large chunks, arguing it makes a large release of oil or other harmful substances more likely. They have advocated instead for removing the ship in smaller pieces.

But officials said that method would take too long. 

They had hoped to have the Golden Ray out of the sound before hurricane season using the current plan. However, the removal operation has been delayed several times, by the coronavirus pandemic and by engineering issues. 

Hurricane season ends next month.

The Golden Ray capsized on its way out of the Port of Brunswick in September 2019 while carrying about 4,200 vehicles. Members of the crew were trapped but all were rescued alive.