Golden Ray freighter capsized due to inaccurate stability calculations, NTSB says

In its report into the September 2019 capsizing investigation, the NTSB also found that two watertight doors were left open, causing the vessel to flood after it capsized. The flood trapped four crew members who were then rescued.

The Golden Ray was carrying 4,100 vehicles and 24 crew members when it overturned while passing through St. Simons Strait. Ultimately, the fire, flooding and saltwater corrosion meant the ship was declared a total loss estimated at $ 62.5 million, the NTSB said in its report, and about $ 142 million. cargo dollars were lost.

The probable cause of the capsizing was the second-in-command’s error when entering ballast quantities into the stability calculation program, according to the NTSB report. This meant the ship had less stability than the first officer calculated, according to the report.

The ship’s operator also didn’t have procedures to verify the commander-in-chief’s calculations, so the ship’s operator and captain were unaware that the Golden Ray was sailing without meeting stability requirements, said the NTSB.

The accident

The Golden Ray left Brunswick Harbor at 1 a.m. on September 8, 2019, after unloading and loading vehicles and was heading for Baltimore. As the vessel turned to the right, it quickly listened on its left side, eventually settling at a 90-degree angle, according to the NTSB report.

In a public hearing last year, Captain Jonathan Tennant, who steered the ship out of port, said everything appeared to be normal before it capsized.

The other crew members were South Korean nationals. The ship’s first engineer, Junyong Kim – who was the last person to be rescued – also said nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary until the ship turned over.

After the distress call, first responders began arriving shortly after 2 a.m. with vessels from the Georgia Coast Guard and Department of Natural Resources and a Coast Guard helicopter. By 6:45 a.m., they had rescued 20 crew members and it was not until the following evening that first responders rescued the four who were trapped.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard unload supplies from a Coast Guard helicopter on the side of the Golden Ray on September 9, 2019, the day after it capsized.

Two crew members were seriously injured, the NTSB said.

NTSB recommendations

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB recommended that the vessel’s operator, G-Marine Service Co. Ltd., create procedures to verify stability calculations before a vessel leaves port.

He also recommended that the company check that the crew is following a departure checklist concerning the closing of watertight doors.

On the Golden Ray, the NTSB found that “both watertight doors had been left open for almost 2 hours before the crash. However, no one on the bridge made sure the doors were closed before leaving port.” .

CNN’s Natasha Chen contributed to this report.


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