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Jekyll Island Swimmers, Anglers Warned Of Oil Contamination From Capsized Cargo Ship

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Bill Bortzfield
/
WJCT News
The capsized Golden Ray carrier ship is pictured Saturday in the St. Simons Sound.

Public health officials in Glynn County, Georgia are warning swimmers and fishermen of the presence of oil on Jekyll Island beaches.

They say people are finding bits of weathered oil, including quarter-sized tar-balls, that have washed up on the sand.

The beaches are open but beachgoers are urged to be cautious.

Anyone who sees an oil-sheen on the surface of the water is urged to notify the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

The contamination originated from the Golden Ray carrier ship that capsized in the St. Simons Sound on September 30.

The public beaches on St. Simons Island appear to still be oil free, however.  

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Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
The capsized Golden Ray carrier ship is pictured Saturday in the St. Simons Sound.

Oil was first discovered last month on grasses in nearby marches by the Altamaha Riverkeeper, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.

The Golden Ray could have as much as 300,000 gallons of fuel onboard not including any in the 4,200 vehicles being shipped. 

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Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
A view of the capsized Golden Ray carrier ship as seen from the St. Simons Island Pier.

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.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.