alp striker

Bourbon Rhode Survivors Arrive in France as Limited Search Continues

Mike Schuler
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October 7, 2019

A file photo of the long-haul anchor handling tug ALP Striker, which is continuing to search for the seven seafarers missing from the Bourbon Rhode. 

The three survivors from the Bourbon Rhode sinking arrived in France on Sunday as a limited search for seven missing seafarers continues in the Atlantic Ocean, French offshore services provide Bourbon Offshore said in an update on Monday. 

The three survivors arrived on board the French Navy frigate Ventôse at Fort de France where they were met by civil and military authorities along with Bourbon representatives. All three survivors are reported to be in good health and have already been reunited with their families.

The bodies of the four seafarers recovered also arrived on board the Ventôse and will be repatriated to their families, Bourbon said.

The arrival of the Ventôse comes under the backdrop of a limited search for seven seafarers continuing in the Atlantic.

According to Bourbon, the anchor handling tug ALP Striker remains in the search zone.

On Saturday, Bourbon announced that search operations led by the CROSS French West Indies-Guyana and the French Navy were transitioning from an active search involving multiple commercial vessels and French Navy assets to asking commercial vessels in the area to keep an adapted watch – a decision that has been met with strong criticism online.

“BOURBON reminds that an exceptionally extensive search operation, with maritime and air resources, has been implemented since September 26 by the CROSS Antilles-Guyane, responsible for managing and coordinating search and rescue operations on behalf of the French maritime authorities,” Bourbon said in an update on Monday. “To date, the search operations decided by the CROSS continues: the Alp Striker vessel – a 90 m AHTS capable of operating over very long distances – is still surveying the area to find the missing seafarers and all merchant vessels operating in this area are mobilized to set up an appropriate watch.”

The Bourbon Rhode, with 14 crew on board, sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on September 26 during a voyage from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to Georgetown, Guyana after experiencing heavy weather from category 4 Hurricane Lorenzo.

Three of the vessel’s crew members were subsequently rescued from a life raft. Searchers also located an overturned fast rescue craft from the vessel.

More than ten commercial vessels participated in the week-long search for the Bourbon Rhode, along with aircraft from the French Navy along with U.S. NWS National Hurricane Center. 

The Luxembourg-flagged Bourbon Rhode is a 49.5-meter double azimuth stern drive tug with 100 metric ton bollard pull. The vessel was built in 2006 and is classed by Bureau Veritas.

Bourbon’s fleet is one of the largest and most modern in the offshore oil and gas services sector, comprising of more than 483 vessels and 31 operating affiliates.

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