7 Still Missing in Louisiana Lift Boat Tragedy, Preparations Begin to Recover Seacor Power Wreckage
More than two weeks after the Seacor Power lift boat capsized in rough weather off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, seven maritime workers remain missing even as preparations begin to remove the wreck from the Gulf of Mexico.
Cajun Navy, Volunteers Continue Seacor Power Search
The Seacor Power overturned around 4:30 p.m. on April 13th, just 8 miles south of Port Fourchon. Nineteen maritime workers were aboard for the 100-mile trip to a Talos Energy drilling platform, but only six were rescued from the sea in the hours after the capsizing. Searchers recovered six bodies within a week of the tragedy, but seven others are still missing and presumed dead.
While the U.S. Coast Guard officially suspended its search on April 19th, volunteers and the Cajun Navy have continued combing the Gulf of Mexico by air and sea. Earlier this week, they recovered “many items” in a marshy area of Terrebonne Parish, including life jackets labeled “Seacor.”
Debris has been washing ashore over the past two weeks, including additional life jackets discovered 33 miles west of the Seacor wreckage on Whiskey Island.
Seacor Marine, Talos Energy Face Mounting Anger
In recent days, some searchers expressed frustration that Houston-based Seacor Marine hasn’t done more to aid their efforts.
“We still have seven guys out there missing, and my concern is we’re out there with boats, mud boats, airboats, trying to get to islands 20, 40 miles offshore, risking our lives, when Seacor should be stepping up, sending up at least a helicopter dropping guys off to look for debris,” one volunteer told NOLA.com.
Others became angry when they learned a top safety official with Talos Energy had spent the weekend deep sea fishing off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, not far from the ongoing search operation.
“It’s complete bulls–t for the vice president of safety to be offshore fishing while there’s a search and rescue for missing guys that were on a boat going to their platform,” said another volunteer. “I don’t know how much more disrespectful you can be.”
U.S. Coast Guard Established Unified Command to Recover Wreckage
On Monday, the Coast Guard announced it had established a unified command with Seacor Marine to organize the safe removal of the wreck and any fuel on board. Although the lift boat was likely carrying fuel, lube, hydraulic, and waste oil, the Coast Guard said it had yet to see any evidence of spillage.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the Seacor Marine capsizing. Among other things, the probe is expected to focus on the decision to send the vessel out to sea after stormy conditions had been forecast.
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