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Capsized container ship full of cars stuck off US coast

By Tom Fraser, 14 Aug 2020 Car News

MV Golden Ray

Car carrier beached off the Georgia coast contains 4200 Hyundai and Kia cars

A literal boatload of brand-new Hyundais remains trapped inside a capsized container ship off the coast of Georgia in the United States, after repeated unsuccessful salvage attempts.

The MV Golden Ray has been a persistent stain on Georgia’s horizon since September 2019, when it toppled en route to Maryland carrying a staggering 4200 Hyundai and Kia cars.

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A fire is reportedly to blame for the freighter running aground and ultimately rolling onto its side but, while authorities continue to try and rescue what's left of the boat and its cargo, progress is being hampered by both storms and the coronavirus pandemic.

According to shipping industry news FreightWaves, a heavy-lift salvage vessel was dispatched to the site in early July with a plan to cut the entire container ship into eight pieces, before towing it all to a recycling facility in Louisiana.

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As if the sheer engineering feat of dissecting a mammoth ship and moving in massive chunks wasn't challenging enough, it's currently lying in a hurricane hot-spot... and many of the salvage crew have contracted Covid-19.

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As it stands, the cleanup efforts have been scaled back and will resume in October - more than a year after the ship first capsized.

As for the fate of the cars, they will all be written off, and Hyundai will be able to claim the loss - estimated at a conservative $150 million - on insurance.

As for the ship, the cost of the salvage will be borne by the recovery team, who will then be able to sell the ship and its contents at scrap value.

While the Golden Ray's fuel was pumped off soon after it first capsized, thousands of litres of fuel remains in the tanks of the vehicles trapped in its hold, which is causing ongoing environmental concerns.

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Fortunately, the capsized car carrier is under constant surveillance to sound the alarm if any spillage is detected and a containment and clean-up plan is in place should a significant leak occur.

For the time being, the ship has become somewhat of an impromptu public attraction with pictures being shared on social media of the ship viewed from the beach.

Who knows what will eventually happen to the ship’s cargo, but it's a very brave thief that would consider trying their luck with this particular bounty.