The owner of a local fleet is taking a team of three divers to explore the wrecked Seacor Power, a commercial lift boat that capsized off the coast of Louisiana on Tuesday afternoon. While 6 people were rescued from the water after the Seacor Power tipped over, 12 remain missing and an additional person was found dead.
Hope remains that the effort will be a rescue operation, but some fear that it’ll turn into a recovery mission for the bodies of the 12 missing people.
“With the situation, I think it’s a little bit of both,” Shaw Couevas, owner of the Jean Lafitte Harbor and boat fleet, said Thursday to Nola.com.
Couevas was called by the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday with a request for a 40-foot boat that could bring three divers to the wreckage of the Seacor Power—the underside of which can be seen sticking out of the water.
The team attempted to start their dive around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. However, persistently bad conditions forced the team to abandon the mission. Another dive was attempted early Thursday morning before a storm halted that attempt. The Coast Guard hopes to shield the small diving boat with another, larger vessel so the operation can finally commence despite the consistently harsh conditions.
“With this weather, it’s been very difficult to get there and put divers in the water,” Couevas said. “We’re loaded up and ready to go.”
Divers will need to survey the Seacor Power and determine the best way to extract survivors or bodies from it.
What Happened to the Seacor Power
On Tuesday afternoon, the Seacor Power left Port Fourchon for Main Pass 138. Reports indicate that the vessel was supposed to bring shuttle equipment and other items to an oil platform owned by Talos Energy. Main Pass 138 is about 40 miles east of Boothville. The journey was supposed to be about 100 miles for the Seacor Power—the boat managed to travel 7 miles of that trip before capsizing because of severe weather conditions.
While the lift boat was assisting Talos Energy, the company was not in control of the vessel at the time of the incident. However, investigators will try to determine if the energy company was involved with sending the Seacor Power out during the dangerous storm.
Conditions have been volatile throughout the week in the Gulf area. However, a break in stormy weather on Tuesday afternoon seems to have encouraged the Seacor Power's operators to attempt the lengthy trip to Main Pass 138. Wind speeds quickly picked up after the vessel left, reaching hurricane-force strength during a weather phenomenon called a wake low. Numerous boats in the area sent out mayday calls as the crews manning them reported being uncertain if they’d make it back to shore alive.
The Seacor Power overturned at about 4:30 p.m., causing several nearby boats and the Coast Guard to respond. While the six survivors were immediately rescued, the search for more has been fruitless so far.
Our Seacor lawyers are continuing to monitor this situation as it continues to change.