Smoke coming from capsized cargo vessel off Georgia coast

Unified Command crews noticed white smoke coming from the Golden Ray ship just after 8 a.m. Sunday morning and are still working to identify the source of the smoke, a U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Himes tells CNN. Source: USCG SE

Authorities are trying to determine the source of smoke coming from the hull of the Golden Ray, a cargo ship that capsized more than a month ago off the Georgia coast.

Crews monitoring the ship noticed white smoke coming from the Golden Ray just after 8 a.m. Sunday and are working to identify the source of the smoke, US Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes told CNN.

Response teams sprayed water onto the vessel to try to contain the smoke. Crews are investigating the cause of the smoke and using helicopters and boats to monitor efforts and the surrounding area.

The 656-foot vessel has been resting on its side in shallow water in St. Simons Sound since early September, when it listed heavily after leaving nearby Port Brunswick. The ship was carrying around 4,000 automobilesfor export.

The St. Simon Sound Unified Command does not know how much oil waste is in the water, but said the process of removing fuel, removing vehicles on board and removing the ship from the water may take months.

More than 250,000 gallons of fuel have been removed from Golden Ray so far. There are an estimated remaining 50,000 gallons left on the vessel. It’s not known how much oil and waste have leaked into surrounding waters, but tar balls and oily waste have been reported along the shoreline and in the water.

After all fuel is removed, the St. Simons Unified Command team is planning to disassemble the vessel and remove it from the water in sections. Himes told CNN he anticipates an approved plan could be in place by mid-November.

The Unified Command consists of the US Coast Guard, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems. Other federal, state, local and partner organizations are assisting in the response.

All the crew members were rescued.

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