PGA Tour players, fans and media who traveled to St. Simons Island this week for the RSM Classic were welcomed by an unexpected site just off the coast of Sea Island Golf Club’s property: a capsized cargo ship.
The gigantic ship, named The Golden Ray, capsized in the St. Simons Sound on September 8, and has been floating on its side ever since. Containing 4,200 cars, emergency crews were able to rescue the 24 crew members on board, but the process of removing the ship from the Sound could take up to a year, according to reports.
The ship, which dropped off 300 cars at the Port of Brunswick, was headed for Baltimore before an “onboard fire and loss of stability caused pilot Jonathan Tennant to intentionally ground the vessel,” according to Alex Myers of GolfDigest.com.
“The most common cause of a ship capsizing is cargo instability,” Fotis Pagoulatos, an Athens-based naval architect, told The Wall Street Journal. “If cargo is not properly secured it could move to one side, the vessel loses its balance and lies on its side.”
WOW: Look st this view of the overturned cargo ship in St.Simons Sound. Hundreds of crew memebera out here working to lessen environmental impacts from the #GoldenRay. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/4RLWg3qIN7
— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) October 1, 2019
The next move for the Coast Guard was to remove the fuel from the ship to lessen the environmental impact, which they were able to do with 315,000 gallons being safely removed.
“I heard it might cost $800 million to move it,” Bill Haas told GolfDigest.com, correctly citing reports.
The expectation is that the ship will need to be dismantled piece by piece over the course of months, even taking as long as a year.
Good morning from Sea Island where the @PGATOUR returns for a 10th year with the @TheRSMClassic this week. For a frame of reference the Golden Ray is right next to the driving range. @ActionSportsJax @ActionNewsJax @ESPN690Jax pic.twitter.com/vlSQnqqFOr
— Stuart Webber (@StuartASJax) November 20, 2019
For this week, however, the ship will be the backdrop for the incoming nine holes of the Seaside Course at Sea Island. It’s also easily visible from the clubhouse and practice range.