Coast Guard to hold public hearing for Golden Ray capsizing incident

Coast Guard crews and port partners respond to a disabled cargo vessel with a fire on board September 8, 2019, in St. Simons Sound, Georgia. At approximately 2 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Charleston watch standers were notified of the M/V GOLDEN RAY, a 656’ vehicle carrier, listing heavily in the St. Simons Sound with a total of 24 people on board; including 23 crew members and 1 pilot. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard crews and port partners responded to the disabled 656’ vehicle carrier Golden Ray with a fire on board September 8, 2019, in St. Simons Sound, Georgia. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, Republic of Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator, and the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal are scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing starting Monday at the Marshes of Glynn Library (Brunswick-Glynn County) in Brunswick, Georgia, to consider evidence related to the capsizing of the motor vessel Golden Ray.

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 https://livestream.com/USCGinvestigations.

The formal hearing is scheduled to convene daily at 10:30 a.m. EST, Sept. 14 through Sept. 18, and Sept. 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 capsizing of Golden Ray and a subsequent fire occurred off the coast of St. Simons Island September 8, 2019.

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 Golden Ray marine 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.

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