The bodies of two Bourbon Rhode crew members were recovered overnight, bringing the official death toll to three after the tug sank during Hurricane Lorenzo last Thursday.
Bourbon Offshore confirmed the fatalities in an update on search and rescue operations. The bodies of the two victims have been recovered and were transferred to the French navy “Ventôse”, which arrived on scene on Monday to participate in the on-going search operation.
According to the Bourbon, ten commercial vessels have been mobilized in the search area since the search and rescue operations began on September 26. Daily overflights are performed by a Falcon 50 belonging to the French Navy with support from a U.S. Coast Guard C130 Hercules aircraft. The Ventôse, accompanied by its helicopter “Panther”, is also on scene coordinating the search.
The Bourgon Rhode, with 14 people on board, sank last Thursday during a voyage from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to Georgetown, Guyana after sailing too close to the eye of Hurricane Lorenzo, a major category 4 hurricane at the time.
Three crew members were rescued alive from a liferaft. Bourbon confirmed the first fatality on Monday.
The search continues for eight missing crew members.
“On behalf of all BOURBON employees, I would like to pay tribute to the deceased sailors. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones who are grieving over this dramatic event,” said Bourbon’s CEO Gaël Bodénès. “We stand in full solidarity with them in this ordeal and assure them of our strongest support. Research operations are continuing on this sixth day and the mobilization of the maritime world is unprecedented. I would like to express our gratitude to all the research teams and those who volunteer.”
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. It is equipped with one Norsafe rescue craft with davit, in addition to liferafts. The vessel has rated speed of 13.5 knots.
The rescue is being coordinated by the Regional Operational Center of Surveillance and Rescue (Cross) of West Indies-Guyana.