The spill occurred during “weight-shedding operations” of the shipwreck, which capsized off of Georgia’s shores in September 2019, according to a news release from St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command.
Responders are using several approaches inside and outside an Environmental Protection Barrier (EPD) to contain the “significant” amount of oil that was discharged, the release said.
With the help of helicopters guiding response vessels, crews are using current busters, oil skimmers and barrier, and sorbent boom to collect the oil.
“Our people have trained and equipment is prepared to ensure the protection of the people and environment of St. Simons Sound,” Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said in the release.
“Local health officials urge beach-goers to be vigilant,” the release added.
Georgia beaches near the oil spill are under an advisory as of July 5, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources’ “Healthy Beaches” map.
Under the advisory, the department suggests no swimming or wading in the water.
The 656-foot vessel has been resting on its side
in shallow water in St. Simons Sound since September 8, when it listed heavily after leaving nearby Port Brunswick. The ship was carrying around 4,000 automobiles for export.
The 24 people on board — 23 crew members and one pilot — were rescued in the days after the ship capsized.
The St. Simons Unified Command team began disassembling
the vessel and removing it from the water in sections in February 2020.