NTSB releases findings into federal investigation of Golden Ray


Over two years ago the Golden Ray cargo ship capsized in the St. Simon Sound with 4,200 vehicles in its cargo decks and a small South Korean crew on board.

On Tuesday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the findings of a federal investigation into the cause.

The answer? In short, inaccurate stability calculations.

NTSB concluded the Golden Ray did not meet international stability standards at departure and possessed less stability than the chief officer calculated.

According to the report, less than 40 minutes after leaving port, the 656-foot-long ship began to heel rapidly to port during a 68 degree turn to starboard. Despite attempts by the pilot and crew to counter the heel, the rate of turn to starboard increased, and the vessel reached a heel of 60 degrees to port in under a minute before it grounded outside of the channel.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the capsizing of the Golden Ray was the chief officer’s error entering ballast quantities into the stability calculation program, which led to his incorrect determination of the vessel’s stability and resulted in the Golden Ray having an insufficient righting arm to counteract the forces developed during a turn while transiting outbound.

The Golden Ray and its cargo sustained significant damage due to fire, flooding, and saltwater corrosion. The report estimates the total costs for the loss of the vessel were estimated at $62.5 million, and total costs for the loss of the cargo were estimated at $142 million.

After the vessel capsized, all 23 crew members and one pilot were rescued. Four were trapped in the vessel for nearly 40 hours, two sustained serious injuries.

Read the full report here.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a content creator and coordinator for Action News Jax.

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