More than a week after a cargo ship capsized in the St. Simons Sound on the Georgia coast, oil is being found on grasses in nearby marshes. The first oil was discovered earlier in the week by the Altamaha Riverkeeper. It comes in with each new tide and looks similar to rings on a tree.
The group is mapping where the oil is found and asking others to report possible sightings to the Unified Command Center that includes the U.S. Coast Guard and Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Fletcher Sams is the executive director of the Altamaha Riverkeeper. He said aside from immediate concerns there could be long-term impacts. The marsh is teeming with wildlife and oyster season opens next month.
“I’m highly concerned about that since they are filter feeders," Sams said. "And the fishermen are highly concerned not only about the short-term impacts to their livelihood but the long-term impacts on their way of life.”
The Golden Ray could have as much as 300,000 gallons of fuel onboard not including any in the 4,200 vehicles being shipped. Investigators will determine if the leaking oil is tied to the vessel.
Meanwhile, the Unified Command is delevoping a salvage plan as well as one to remove the fuel and pollutants from the ship. They are also developing a water-quality monitoring plan and encourage people to monitor the Georgia Department of Public Health website for advisories.