The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday opened the public docket as part of its ongoing investigation into the fatal capsizing of the Seacor Power liftboat near Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
Seacor Power had 19 people on board (including nine crew, two galley staff, and eight offshore workers) when it capsized as it transited in open waters off of the Gulf of Mexico on April 13, 2021. Six people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan vessels, six people died and seven people are missing and presumed dead.
According to the NTSB, as a rain squall passed over the vessel, visibility dropped and winds increased significantly, so the crew decided to lower the Seacor Power’s legs to the seafloor to hold the vessel in position until the storm passed. When the legs began to descend, the crewmember at the helm attempted to turn the vessel into the winds. But before the turn was completed, the Seacor Power heeled to starboard and capsized.
The docket for the investigation includes more than 8,000 pages of factual information, including interview transcripts, a meteorology report and other investigative materials.
In a trascript of investigators’ interview with Seacor Power’s First Mate, he describes “white out” conditions and being on the bridge with the Captain, Captain David Ledet, as the vessel capsized.
“Soon as I started jacking, we started getting a starboard list, and I told [the Captain], we got a little starboard list,” the First Mate said. He then got a call from the galley reporting water coming in.
“And then I looked back up at the list, and I said, [Captain], I think we’re going over. He come and took the controls, and we got another call from the galley about the galley door… Then [the Captain] grabbed the Gai-Tronics, and said, get your lifejacket, get your lifejacket, get your life jacket.”
Realizing capsizing was immeninent, the First Mate hit the Seacor Power’s “tilt alarm” as it was “the only alarm I knew that would work for sure.”
“[The Captain] stayed at the wheel trying to correct, steer into it. And then I grabbed the door, and that’s when we rolled. [The Captain] went through the windows,” the First Mate said.
The body of Captain David Ledet was recovered along with six others on the day of the accident.
The Seacor Power was built in 2002 and acquired by Seacor Marine LLC in 2012. It was operated by Seacor Marine and chartered to Talos Energy at the time of the accident.
According to prelimary report released by the NTSB in May 2021, the vessel received an emailed weather report at 7:02 a.m. on the day of the accident, about five and a half hours before departing Port Fourchon, where it had loaded offshore equipment on its main deck, bound for the Main Pass Block 138 lease area. The vessel capsized 3:41 p.m.
The public docket contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators and no conclusions about how or why the Seacor Power capsized should be drawn from the information within the docket.
Analysis, findings, recommendations and probable cause determinations related to the capsizing will be issued by the NTSB in a final report at a later date.
The public docket can be found on the NTSB website.
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