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Golden Ray Cargo Ship Capsized Off Georgia Coast, 4 Crew Members Trapped

The U.S. Coast Guard is attempting to rescue four crew members aboard a disabled cargo ship that capsized near St. Simon Island, Georgia early Sunday morning.

Cargo Ship Listed Nearly While Leaving Port of New Brunswick

According to the Associated Press, the Golden Ray was leaving the Port of New Brunswick in Georgia and transporting 4,000 vehicles to Baltimore, Maryland, when it began to list sometime after 2:00 a.m.  The 656-foot cargo ship eventually capsized in the shipping channel, closing one of nation’s busiest seaports for automobile shipments.

While first responders managed to airlift 20 Filipino and South Korean crew, along with a U.S. harbor pilot, from the stricken vessel, they later suspended all rescue operations due to fire and other dangerous conditions.

“As smoke and flames began to appear our crews, along with the Glynn County heavy rescue team, assessed that the situation was too risky to further go inside the vessel to attempt to locate the four individuals who remain missing at this time,” Capt. John Reed, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Charleston, said during a Sunday afternoon media briefing.

Rescuers Made Contact with Missing Crew This Morning

The fire was extinguished by early this morning, and the Golden Ray became stable enough to allow a helicopter to land on the vessel. Rescuers apparently made contact with the missing crew by rappelling down the side of the massive cargo ship and drilling a small hole into the hull. According to the South Korean foreign ministry, the four men are isolated in the ship’s engine room.

While the crews’ condition is not known, the Coast Guard is preparing for an extraction. Earlier today, video footage from CNN showed rescuers walking along the hull of the ship and assessing it for possible entry. They’re also trying to provide the trapped men with food, water, and more air.

So far, it’s not clear how long an extraction might take.

Hyundai Glovis Owns Capsized Cargo Ship

The Golden Ray belongs to Hyundai Glovis, a company that transports vehicles for Hyundai, Kia, and other automakers. The capsized cargo ship is registered to the Marshall Islands.

It’s still not known what caused the vessel to list. A longshorewoman told CNN that loading and unloading went smoothly before the ship left the Port of New Brunswick, with the crew finishing up about 11:00 p.m. Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident, along with the Coast Guard, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the Glynn County Fire Department.

Golden Ray Capsizing Second Serious Maritime Accident This Month

The Golden Ray capsizing is the second serious maritime accident to occur in United States’ coastal waters this month, and comes less than a week after a horrific dive boat fire tragically killed 34 people off the coast of Southern California.

Divers have so far recovered the remains of 33 victims killed in the Conception fire, and they continue to search for the final victim. The NTSB is also investigating that incident, which ranks among the worst maritime disasters in California history.

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Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers are investigating the Golden Ray capsizing and will post an update when new information becomes available.

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