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Golden Ray Shipwreck: A Crewmember’s Bad Math Sank A Cargo Ship With Thousands Of Cars, Report Finds World news

A crew member’s mistake in calculating the cargo weight on a ship loaded with thousands of cars most likely caused the ship to capsize off the east coast of the United States.

The South Korean freighter Golden Ray overturned in September 2019 and its wreck is still partially in the waters off the state of Georgia.

It was loaded with around 4,200 cars, and the US National Transportation Safety Board report estimates the incident caused $ 204 million (£ 147.7 million) in damage.

Firefighters spray water into the clipped center section of the Golden Ray cargo ship, Friday, May 14, 2021, Braunschweig, Georgia.  The Golden Ray had about 4,200 vehicles in her cargo decks when she capsized off St. Simons Island on September 8, 2019. The crews dismantled the ship into eight giant pieces using a giant gantry crane and then barged each section away.  (AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton)
The wreck of the Golden Ray is still partly in the waters off the US state of Georgia. Image: AP

The NTSB investigation reiterated what a US Coast Guard expert found at a public hearing last year – that the ship did not have enough water below deck for ballast.

This resulted in the 199 meter long ship becoming top heavy and overturning.

And the situation was made worse by the fact that a door was left open on the lower decks through which seawater could enter.

Some crew members were stranded and had to be rescued from the engine room – although the entire crew was eventually rescued.

The ship had just left the port of Braunschweig and was 70 miles offshore when its maneuvering system failed.

The ballast error of around 1,500 tons was most likely due to a mistake by one of the senior crew members.

The bow section of the Golden Ray vehicle carrier with some of the 4,000 vehicles on board is waiting to be towed to a junkyard on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in Braunschweig, Georgia, using a chain to cut the ship into seven parts before it being lifted onto a barge and scrapped.  (AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton)
The South Korean freighter was loaded with around 4,200 cars. Image: AP

“The chief officer made a mistake when entering the fill level data of the ballast tank into the stability calculation computer on board,” says the NTSB report, “which led to his incorrect determination of the stability of the ship”.

The chief officer reports to the ship’s master and the document added that he was not properly trained to use the software to calculate the ship’s stability.

Since the incident, the ship’s owner, G-Marine Service Company, has intensified its officers’ training in stability calculations.

The demolition of the Golden Ray began last November. Image: AP

Demolition of the ship began last November, using huge 122-meter-high cranes to assist the workers.

There have been various setbacks since then, including fires and oil spills.

The area has been shielded from the surrounding ocean as cars and other debris fall into the ocean during the evacuation.

The work is expected to take a few more months.


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