GOLDEN RAY - IMO 9775816Naval architect: Vessel had stability issues
Sep 23 12:04
A naval architect testified on Sep 22 that the 'Golden Ray'’s ballast level was not compliant with stability regulations when the vehicle carrier capsized. "If the vessel kept the additional ballast on board that was discharged during the Freeport-to-Jacksonville voyage, this would have resulted in full compliance with the 2008 Intact Stability Code and likely would have prevented the capsize,” said Lt. Ian Oviatt of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Center in Washington. The vessel had sailed from Freeport, Texas, to Jacksonville, Florida, before continuing to the Port of Brunswick in Georgia. Oviatt said his analysis showed the 'Golden Ray' was not compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s Intact Stability Code during either of the two earlier sailings.
“Though the righting arm curves in both of these previous voyages are slightly more favorable to stability, they are still well below the benchmark loading conditions. Our results indicated that the vessel was not in compliance with the 2008 Intact Stability Code during either of the preceding voyages,” he said.
Thus, the Golden Ray could have capsized on its way to Jacksonville or Brunswick but it didn’t because of the greater amount of ballast it carried, Oviatt determined.
“During the Freeport-to-Jacksonville voyage, the vessel discharged approximately 1,500 metric tons of ballast,” he said. “The additional righting energy that this 1,500 tons of ballast would have provided in the capsize voyage is likely to have caused the capsize.”
Oviatt explained why he believes that a lack of righting energy likely caused the capsizing of the 'Golden Ray'.
“Turning with maximum possible rudder at maximum possible speed is not typically dangerous for most cargo ships. However, in cases where there’s only a very small amount of remaining righting energy left, the dynamic effects of the turn can easily overcome the remaining righting energy and lead to significant heel or capsize. Our conclusions indicate that this was likely the case for the Golden Ray."
A lack of righting energy would be caused if “the vessel either had too much cargo at a high vertical center of gravity or not enough liquid at a low vertical center of gravity,” Oviatt explained. If the vessel had kept the additional ballast on board, the capsizing likely would not have occurred.Hearing concluded
Sep 23 09:12:32
The U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator and the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal concluded the formal public hearing proceedings regarding the capsize of the 'Golden Ray'. The joint investigation board reviewed and considered evidence related to the capsizing of the motor vessel Golden Ray, which occurred on Sept. 8, 2019.
Due to ongoing risk mitigation efforts during the novel coronavirus pandemic, physical public and media attendance was not permitted.
Documents, exhibits, board biographies, and other hearing information can be viewed at https://www.news.uscg.mil/news-by-region/7th-district-southeast/golden-ray-formal-investigation-hearing/.
The formal hearing convened daily Sep 14 through Sep 18, and Sep 21 and 22.
The hearing reviewed the condition of the ship prior to and at the time of the casualty. It reviewed the ship, owner, operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel and the loading process for the port of Brunswick.
Although the public portion of the investigation has concluded, members of the formal investigation team will continue to draft a report and ultimately provide recommendations to improve any practice, procedure, policy or regulation in order to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.
“On a personal note, my close association with this investigation has reaffirmed the strong cooperative spirit within the local and maritime communities as a whole,” said Coast Guard Capt. Blake Welborn, lead investigating officer. “As I learned about those involved and their actions, I became more impressed by the communal cohesiveness in which members diligently labored for the betterment of all. I thank you and commend this community for rallying around those impacted by and responding to this significant incident. If not for the selfless, quick and committed actions of some, it would most certainly have been more catastrophic.”
“First, I would like to thank Capt. Welborn and the Coast Guard marine board for including our agency in this hearing, and for their exceptional cooperation throughout this investigation,” said Capt. David Flaherty (USCG, ret.), senior marine engineer and casualty investigator at the NTSB. “I would also like to thank all the parties to the investigation for their continued support with this casualty investigation despite all of the challenges and limitations of the pandemic.”
At a future date, a separate report of the NTSB findings will be issued, which will include the agency’s official determination of the probable cause of this accident and, if appropriate, the safety board will issue recommendations to correct safety problems discovered during this investigation. These recommendations may be made in advance of the report.
The U.S. Coast Guard is jointly conducting the investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal, representatives for Hyundai Glovis and G-Marine, and the Brunswick Bar Pilots Association.Crew and owner testify in hearing
Sep 22 12:25
For the first timesince the 'Golden Ray' capsized off the coast of Georgia, crew members and the owners were speaking publicly about the moments before the vessel listed and overturned. The public hearing, part of the investigation into why the vessel capsized, wraps up on Sep 22.
Capt. Jonathan Tennant, the pilot who steered the ship out of the port at 1 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2019, recalled calm winds and good visibility. He said typically there were warning signs when something is wrong - alarms, the sound of crew members speaking rapidly in a native language, the engine room calling up. But none of that happened.
"Everything was just as normal as it could be, until it capsized," Tennant said.
Tennant told investigators the ship started leaning in a turn and started to over-rotate to starboard. He applied what's known as counter-rudder to reduce the rate of the turn, but it wasn't enough. He said the accident happened within seconds.
"When I felt like I was losing control of the vessel, I reached behind me where I propped up the ship's radio and said to Jamie on the inbound, 'watch out, Jamie. I'm losing her,' in which time she capsized, I dropped the radio, held onto the gyro, the ship capsized, I tried to ease the rudder, still trying to drive the ship."
Tennant said he had no context that the ship's rudder and propeller were already out of the water.
"I was still like an airline pilot trying to drive the plane, trying to solve the problem until it flew into the ground," he said.
The last person aboard, Junyong Kim, was rescued about about 36 hours after the accident.
He gave a written testimony for the hearing. Kim, the first engineer on the ship, also said nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the ship turned sideways.
Kim said that he was in the engine room, trying to protect himself and the second engineer.
"I grabbed him not to fall down to the end of the engine room because the engine room was ... a bit long. And if he falls down to end, he could be injured. So, I try to grab him to not fall down to the end of this."
Kim said the generator went out, the engine shut down, and the standby generator also went out.
He described water rising, and the room becoming incredibly hot. Capt. John Reed of the US Coast Guard testified separately that the inside reached more than 150 degrees, with passageways becoming a "death trap."
Kim said he and others eventually went into the water that had risen in the engine room to stay cool.
Smoke was visible throughout the rescue mission, indicating fires on board. Rescuers had to bore through fireproof glass and navigate passageways that had become vertical drops to rescue the people in the engine room.
"I keep thinking, why it happens to me. I think, if I have water, I could survive two days more," Kim said in his statement.
Investigators asked about how the cars were loaded
The Golden Ray was originally supposed to travel from Mexico to several ports in the US, ending in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Dorian slightly altered its plans.
There was a delay leaving the port in Texas, after which the route changed to go to Jacksonville, Florida, before Brunswick, Georgia.
Investigators asked Mike Mavrinac, operations manager for ship owner Hyundai Glovis, about those changes and any issues with loading or unloading cargo.
Mavrinac said at the Port of Brunswick, "we did have some tighter space, and we added some additional cargo downstairs on the main deck, deck five."
The Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal, one of the investigating entities, challenged Mavrinac about not having a final load plan provided to the vessel before departure. Mavrinac pushed back, saying the stevedore usually hands a handwritten plan to the crew, and that the crew uses that to account for the cargo present.
The man in charge of creating a plan for loading and unloading, Sammy Maataki of Norton Lilly, said there was eventually less cargo loaded onto deck 12 and more vehicles loaded on deck five out of Brunswick.
"Guessing lack of space. They ran out of space, so they put the remaining balance on five," Maataki said.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator asked whether Maataki considers difference in weight between the cars that are unloaded and the new ones brought on board.
Maataki answered, "No, like I said, we receive a plan from Mexico reflecting the cargo to be discharged between the Gulf and the East Coast. And based off the space that's available at the port of load, we just place it in a way where it's an efficient load and discharge operation."
A cause won't be determined for a while
Jason Neiman, public affairs officer with the US Coast Guard, said the investigation is complex and, therefore, may take many months to complete.Everything normal, tug captain testified
Sep 21 22:44
Clifton Gorden, a tug captain who helped push the 'Golden Ray' from the docks as it left a Georgia seaport said on Sep 21 during the hearing he observed only “smooth travel” before the vessel overturned. Clifton Gorden was the latest of several witnesses to tell federal investigators all seemed normal with the freighter before it began leaning and capsized while making a starboard turn. They have testified in hearings during the past week by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board into what caused the shipwreck.
Gorden, a tug captain for 25 years, testified that the tides and weather conditions were calm enough the morning the 'Golden Ray' departed that only his tug was needed to nudge it free of the dock. He followed behind the ship a short distance to make sure it cleared the port.
“Everything looked normal,” Gorden said. “There was no swaying back and forth when he moved his rudder. Usually, I can see a little bit of that. It was just smooth travel out of the narrow channel into Turtle River.”
The pilot released Gorden soon after clearing the port. He said he was drifting toward another ship he was scheduled to assist when he got a radio call saying the 'Golden Ray' needed help. Gorden’s tug arrived half an hour later, along with several other small ships, to find the vehicles carrier on its side. He stayed through the night, helping with crew evacuations.
The hearings so far haven’t pinpointed what made the ship tip over. Capt. Blake Welborn, the Coast Guard officer leading the investigation, said last week that investigators found no evidence of failures in the vessel’s safety equipment, communications equipment or machinery that contributed to the wreck.
Both the 'Golden Ray'’s captain, Gi Hak Lee, and Brunswick-based pilot Jonathan Tennant, who was steering the ship, testified last week the vessel began listing and overturned without warning.
“Everything was just as normal as could be, until it capsized,” Tennant, a harbour pilot with 20 years of experience, testified on Sep 18. “It’s an unexplainable situation that I’ve never experienced as a captain.”
As a precaution against coronavirus infections, the public has not been allowed to attend the hearings in person. Instead, the proceedings in Brunswick have been streamed live online. It could take another year before investigators publish a report of their findings, with recommendations aimed at improving safety.
Separate from the investigation, a multiagency command has spent the past year making plans to carve the ship into eight giant chunks to be hauled away by barges. Officials hope to begin the first cut sometime in October.Second day of hearing
Wed Sep 16 12:44
A foreman who oversees dock workers at Georgia's shipping terminal for automobiles said on Sep 15 during the hearing he saw no problems as hundreds of cars and trucks were loaded onto the 'Golden Ray' shortly before the vessel overturned after leaving port a year ago.
The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are holding public hearings this week as they investigate what caused the South Korean vessel to capsize with 4,200 vehicles in its cargo decks after it departed the Port of Brunswick on Sept. 8, 2019.
Steve Farley, a foreman who oversaw the stevedore crew tasked with unloaded and loading the Golden Ray before its final voyage, told investigators the workers rolled 280 vehicles off the ship the day before it departed and loaded 360 cars and trucks onto it. The vehicles were lashed down in rows inside the cargo hold, with straps across each one's front and back ends. Asked if anyone noticed the vehicle listing to one side, Farley said there was no indication of any imbalance. Sep 15 marked the second day of testimony in hearings that are scheduled to continue into next week. The Coast Guard has not said during the proceedings why it suspects the ship overturned.
On Sep 14, investigators played audio from the vessel's VDR in which sailors could be heard shouting above blaring alarms and other loud noises as the 'Golden Ray' leaned to its starboard side and ultimately capsized over the course of several minutes. It could take another year before investigators publish a report of their findings, with recommendations aimed at improving safety.Publick hearing on Golden Ray accident scheduled
Fri Sep 11 09:11
The U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, Republic of Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator, and the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal were scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing starting on Sep 14 at the Marshes of Glynn Library (Brunswick-Glynn County) in Brunswick, Georgia, to consider evidence related to the capsizing of the 'Golden Ray' off the coast of St. Simons Island September 8, 2019. The hearing will be broadcast live, as well as recorded, to ensure public access and participation with the proceedings.
Due to ongoing risk mitigation efforts during the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, physical public attendance is not permitted. The hearing will be streamed live each day at .
The formal hearing is scheduled to convene daily at 10:30 a.m. EST, Sep 14 through Sep 18, and Sep 21 and 22.
The hearing will focus on the condition of the ship prior to and at the time of the casualty. It will also focus on the ship, owner, and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, and the loading process for the port of Brunswick.
The Coast Guard has established an email address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions, and make comments related to the ongoing investigation and scheduled hearing. This email will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The email address is USCGGoldenRay@gmail.com
The casualty met the requirements for a formal investigation level of effort due to the loss of the vessel, damage to U.S. property, and discharge of hazardous substances. The Coast Guard Seventh District Commander, Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, initiated a “District Formal Investigation” under 46 CFR 4.07-1.
This was influenced primarily by the potential lessons to be derived from the casualty for public interest. Investigations of marine casualties and accidents and the determinations made from them, are generally for the purposes of taking appropriate measures for promoting safety of life and property at sea and are not intended to fix civil or criminal responsibility.
A formal investigation is composed of a specially designated lead investigating officer to serve as the presiding officer. Rear Adm. Jones also designated several specialists and technical experts to assist the lead investigating officer.
The U.S. Coast Guard is jointly conducting the investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board, flag State of the vessel, the Countries of the crew, and representatives for the Owners of the ship, the Shipping Company, Brunswick Pilots, and the Slot Charterer.
GOLDEN RAY - IMO 9775816IMO:
Marshall Is [MH]AIS Vessel Type:
20995 tYear Built: