Cargo Ship Capsizes with Thousands of New Cars on Board

Sebastian Blanco
Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard

From Car and Driver

  • A cargo vessel carrying several thousand new cars capsized on Sunday off the coast of Georgia, and four crew members are missing.
  • According to Reuters, Hyundai and Kia vehicles were the cargo on board; the Korea Herald said the vehicles were headed to the Middle East for export and that some were Kia Motors cars while others were from "other global carmakers."
  • The Coast Guard is continuing rescue efforts today.

A massive cargo ship potentially carrying over 4000 new vehicles capsized in Saint Simons Sound near the Port of Brunswick in Georgia early Sunday morning.

The M/V Golden Ray is a vehicle cargo vessel that local news reports say was carrying 4200 vehicles as it left the harbor on its way to Baltimore. Reuters is reporting that they were Hyundai and Kia vehicles; we have reached out to the automaker for confirmation.

For reasons not yet understood, the ship turned and fell on its port side before making it to the open ocean. There were 24 people on board when it fell sideways into the water: 23 crew members and one pilot. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 20 of the crew members before rescuers noticed a fire with black smoke coming out of the cargo hold and decided it was too dangerous to attempt further efforts. Four people remain unaccounted for. As of Sunday afternoon, there was no active release of pollution, the Coast Guard said, but it and other agencies are monitoring the situation. The question of the ship's stability is an ongoing investigation, according to the Coast Guard.

Automakers have dealt with the loss of an entire ship's worth of vehicles before. In 2006, as C/D reported at the time, a cargo ship called the Cougar Ace capsized when it was near Alaska on a journey from Asia to North America with $103 million worth of brand-new Mazdas on board. The 23-member crew needed to be rescued, and all 4703 cars were eventually crushed.

The Golden Ray was built in 2017 and was sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands. It has the capacity to carry 6933 vehicles and is owned by GL NV24 Shipping and operated by Hyundai Glovis. Both companies are based in Seoul, South Korea. Rescue efforts are ongoing.

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