U.S. Coast Guard: Rescuers drilled hole through overturned ship's hull, confirmed all 4 missing crew members are alive

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) -The United States Coast Guard and port partners are searching for four members of the crew of the Golden Ray after the cargo vessel tipped on its side in the Port of Brunswick.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, rescuers drilled hole through overturned ship’s hull, confirmed all 4 missing crew members are alive.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, rescuers drilled hole through overturned ship’s hull, confirmed all 4 missing crew members are alive.

Twenty of the 24 person crew on board have been rescued from the ship. The Coast Guard does not believe that the four missing crewmembers are submerged below water, but believe that they remain on board somewhere on the craft. The team consists of 23 crew members and one pilot. The vessel, which is 656 feet long and weighs 71,000 tons, is still listing heavily in the St. Simon’s Sound.

“It is a complex situation," said Lt. Lloyd Heflin, the Search and Rescue Mission Co-ordinator out of sector Charleston. "So we’re working not just for the safety to be able to rescue the people on board, but also to be able to provide safety for our crews.”

The Golden Ray is leaning on its port side. It is unclear if the ship has leaked fuel at this time. An emergency spill response crew is stationed near the Sidney Lanier Bridge, ready to deploy when needed. The Coast Guard is in the process of deploying spill containment booms to contain any spills if necessary.

“In addition to the ongoing search and rescue operations we also have pollution mitigation efforts in the waters, currently I would say there is no active release of pollution however on the potential that there would be have established unified command to put mitgation strategies into effect,” said Commander of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unity in Savannah Norm Witt. “Currently we’re mobilizing resources, activating our area contingency plan and taking all steps necessary mitigate any potential pollution.”

The ship is described as a “roll-on, roll-off” ship, a craft usually used in the transportation of vehicles. There were 4,200 vehicles when the ship capsized.