Four crew members of a large international transport vessel went missing Sunday off Georgia after the boat began listing violently and caught fire. The vessel, identified in reports as the 656-foot Golden Ray, had 24 crew members aboard, 20 of which were rescued in a high risk US Coast Guard operation.
CNN has reported that four South Korean crew members are still being looked for after rescue efforts were temporarily disrupted when a fire broke out on the ship.
Dramatic coast guard images showed that the boat had capsized early Sunday, tipping on its side in the Port of Brunswick near St. Simons Island.
Given the Golden Ray was reportedly a car carrier, this could have contributed to its destabilizing and severe listing before the accident, though a specific cause has yet to be identified.
#Update Evacuations of the Golden Ray’s crew continue. All vessel traffic in the Port of Brunswick is currently suspended unless approved by the @USCG Captain of the Port. #HappeningNow pic.twitter.com/F7JbdGCShU— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) September 8, 2019
According to CNN, citing Coast Guard commander, Capt. John Reed:
Officials are working to stabilize the leaning vessel, he said. Once that's done, rescue efforts will continue.
"The other outcome could be that it may be deemed more appropriate to go ahead and right the vessel and de-smoke and de-water before we are able to actually get in there and locate the four individuals," Reed told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield in an interview Sunday.
The tanker tracker site MarineTraffic.com indicated the ship was sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and had been bound for Baltimore.
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah lifts members from the capsized 656-foot vehicle carrier Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound. @WTOC11— Andrew Gorton WTOC (@AndrewGortonWx) September 8, 2019
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard District 7 PADET Jacksonville pic.twitter.com/xtSXlrpCYK
The Coast Guard published dramatic rescue footage involving stranded crew members being lifted off the large cargo ship via helicopter, as well as some dropping into rescue boats.