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Experts: Source of imbalance is key to why ship overturned

This Sept. 10, 2019 satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies, shows the capsized cargo shop Golden Ray in Jekyll Island, Ga. A fire broke out aboard the ship early Sunday, listing it to the side and blocking the shipping channel. The Coast Guard and a salvage crew freed the four remaining Golden Ray crew members. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Investigators are trying to answer why a giant cargo ship overturned on the Georgia coast, and experts say a big piece of the puzzle will be determining what made the vessel unbalanced enough to crash onto its side.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating after the South Korean ship Golden Ray capsized soon after departing the Port of Brunswick early Sunday. What could overturn a giant ship measuring 656 feet (199 metres) long?

Jim Staples served as captain aboard similar vehicle carriers for 17 years. He says something obviously made the ship unstable. One question is whether any of the 4,200 vehicles in the cargo decks shifted, causing it to list to one side. Another is whether the ship’s ballast tanks were filled improperly, creating balance issues.

Russ Bynum, The Associated Press