The SEACOR Eagle is staged with gear near the SEACOR Power May 1, 2021 off Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The vessel is being used as platform to assist in salvage and pollution response operations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brendan Freeman
Salvage crews began removing fuel from SEACOR Power’s tanks on Monday, kicking off salvage operations for the overturned lift boat off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
Crews began arriving at the site over the weekend to familiarize themselves with the equipment to be used in the operation. Salvage crews are using a method called hot tapping, which uses pressure to allow for drilling into the fuel tanks and making a hose connection without ruining the integrity of the tank or causing pollution impacts.
Divers are performing this process above and below the water, connected to an air hose.
The Coast Guard previously established a Unified Command to oversee the salvage, wreck removal and pollution response to the capsized SEACOR Power, located about 8 miles south of Port Fourchon. The command consists of representatives from the Coast Guard and SEACOR Marine, the vessel’s owner.
The Unified Command said it’s imperative mariners respect the one-mile safety zone during these evolutions.
Weather is also likely to play a role in the operation and the Unified Command has said work will cease if weather conditions exceed approximately 15 mph winds, four-foot seas, and a current faster than 1.25 mph.
The SEACOR Power capsized during a severe squall shortly after departing Port Fourchon, Louisiana on Tuesday, April 13, with 19 people on board. Six crew members were recovered safely following the accident. Seven people currently remain missing.
The Coast Guard has estimated that the 234-foot lift boat was carrying a maximum potential of 35,000 gallons of fuel, lube oil, hydraulic and waste oil when it capsized.
SEACOR Power is owned and operated by Houston-based SEACOR Marine and was chartered to Talos Energy at the time of the accident. The SEACOR Eagle, another SEACOR Marine-operated lift boat, will be utilized for the salvage operation.
The NTSB and Coast Guard are investigating the incident as a “Major Marine Casualty”.
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