A Coast Guard Station Grand Isle 45-foot Respone Boat-Medium boatcrew heads toward a capsized 175-foot lift boat Seacor Power, April 13, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris
Coast Guard Suspends Search for SEACOR Power Survivors
The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the remaining missing SEACOR Power lift boat crew members 8 miles south of Port Fourchon.
Eight crew members remain missing out of 19 on board at the time of the accident.
Coast Guard boat and aircrews, local agency crews and good Samaritans searched for a cumulative 175 hours, covering over 9,200 square nautical miles. The search was set to end Monday at sunset.
“We extend our appreciation to everyone who volunteered to assist during the search effort. Suspending a search is one of the toughest decisions the Coast Guard has to make,” said Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “Our crews searched continuously over the past six days with the hope of bringing the missing crewmembers home to their loved ones. I would like to extend my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families, friends and loved ones–all those impacted by this terrible tragedy. I know that this is an immensely difficult time for you all, and for the entire maritime community.”
Six people were rescued after the SEACOR Power lift boat capsized on Tuesday, April 13, around 4:30 p.m. approximately 8 miles south of Port Fourchon during severe weather. One deceased victim was later recovered and 12 were initially reported missing.
A second unresponsive person was recovered in the water near the capsized lift boat on Friday. Divers from Donjon Marine, which has been contracted for the salvage, recovered two additional unresponsive crewmembers from the vessel. Divers from Maryland-based Phoenix International have also participated in the search of the vessel.
Seacor Power is operated by Houston-based SEACOR Marine Holdings Inc. (“SEACOR Marine”) (NYSE:SMHI), a leading provider of marine and support transportation services to offshore energy facilities. The company’s website shows it is a 265 Classlift boat built in 2002 with jacking capability of 244 feet of max separation and 195 feet max of working depth. It has three legs total of about 250-feet each and has room for 12 crew members and 36 passengers. The vessel itself is classed by the American Bureau of Shipping.
Lift boats are self-propelled and self-elevating barge-like vessels used for various jobs in shallow-water offshore oil and gas activities and offshore construction. They jack their legs down to the seabed, providing a stable platform for working offshore. They can also be equipped with large cranes.
“We’re deeply saddened by the news of the vessel capsizing and are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities to support all efforts to locate our valued team members and partners,” SEACOR Marine said in a statement issued last Thursday. “We would like to thank the U.S. Coast Guard and Good Samaritan vessels for their immediate response, as well as the brave individuals who have further supported our search and rescue efforts. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved.”
The incident has been declared a major marine casualty and the U.S. Coast Guard is leading a preliminary investigation with participation from the National Transportation Safety Board. The investigation is likely to take somewhere between 12 and 24 months, according to Andrew “Drew” Ehlers, the NTSB marine accident investigator in charge.
SEACOR Power was underway from Port Fourchon to a Talos Energy platform when the accident happened.
“Talos continues to offer our full support to Seacor and the U.S. Coast Guard Unified Command with the ongoing response effort. Like everyone in the offshore community, we are heartbroken and praying for everyone affected by this tragedy,” the company said in a statement provided to gCaptain.
Rescue assets involved in the search:
The pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Glen Harris crew
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