Cargo Ship Carrying 4,000 Hyundais Sliced Open With Chain
You might remember hearing about the MV Golden Ray, a capsized ship with a cargo of 4,000 Hyundais that we reported on in August this year.
The MV Golden Ray capsized after it started listing only 23 minutes after its departure from the Port of Brunswick, Georgia all the way back in September of 2019.
Plans to dismantle the 106 feet wide and 20,995 deadweight ton capacity ship were unsurprisingly delayed by COVID-19. Now, the dismantling is going full steam ahead and it's a sight to behold.
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Slicing the MV Golden Ray
The MV Golden Ray, which capsized due to faulty loading, is gradually being dismantled in sections that are, in turn, being hauled off on a barge for scrap.
The month of November was particularly eventful, Jalopnik reports, as workers were tasked with using a chain to cut off the first enormous chunk off the ship's hull, revealing the cars inside.
The team behind the dismantling operation used a Versabar VB-10000 lift vessel with an enormous yellow dual-barge crane to lift the MV Golden Ray out of the water, allowing it to be sliced.
The Versabar VB-10000 was originally built in order to help fix oil platforms damaged by hurricanes back in 2010. Each of its two barges has 1,000 horsepower thrusters to keep the vessel positioned correctly over the wreckage.
Attached to the VB-10000, is a pulley system that uses a steel chain running along the bottom of the ship. With the help of two engines, the chain reciprocates back and forth at a rate of seven feet per minute, yielding a cutting action capable of grinding through a ship's hull.
"The cutting process is a highly complex operation that response engineers continue to fine-tune," St. Simons Incident Response explains in a press statement.
As per Jalopnik, a team at the site removes links from the chain throughout the cutting process, which maintains the upward chain tension that cuts through the ship's hull.
The MV Golden Ray's hull will be cut into eight sections, cut vertically from top to bottom, that weigh between 2,700 tons and 4,100 tons, St. Simons Sound Incident Response says.
Separating the MV Golden Ray into sections
In order to separate each of the sections of the MV Golden Ray, Texas-based contracting firm T&T Salvage welded custom brackets — which St. Simons Sound Incident Response calls "lifting lugs" — to the eight sections of the hull.
As can be seen in the picture below, the "lifting lugs" are huge — one of them weighs over 38 tons. The lugs are used to stabilize the ship as the chain cuts through it.
The lugs also act as lifting points that distribute the load when the VB-10000 raises the Golden Ray onto a barge. The yellow "ropes" used to lift each section are "ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene slings," which St. Simons Sound Incident Response describe as being "as strong as steel at a fraction of the weight."
These last two pictures show the first section of the ship being removed. The section, full of smashed Hyundais slightly resembles the inside of a piñata full of toy cars.
The VB-10000 then lifted the first section onto a barge called Julie B., which took it away to be further dismantled at a scrapyard.
The impressive chain that cut through the hull of the MV Golden Ray is 400 feet long. Each 80-pound (36 kg) link stretches 1.5 feet (0.45 meters) from end to end and is three inches (7.6 cm) thick.
Though COVID-19 delayed the dismantling of the MV Golden Ray, it is now going ahead at quite the pace thanks to some very impressive engineering. Although the Hyundais in the ship look pretty unsalvageable, it looks like much of the MV Golden Rays materials won't go to waste.