As the hours continue to tick away, hope diminishes for the safe return of 12 missing personnel from the capsized Seacor Power in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Port Fourchon.
Six personnel were rescued late Tuesday. The ship’s Captain, 62 year old David Ledet of Thibodaux, Louisiana, was recovered from the waters. Lafourche Parish Coroner Dr. John King told authorities his death was the result of drowning.
As of this writing, 12 people remain unaccounted for.
On Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard personnel used a hammer to bang on the hull of the overturned vessel, in hopes that at least two crew members last known to be onboard would make some noise to signal they were in an air pocket and thus still alive. Authorities last had contact with the duo at around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Efforts to recover the lost are now spread over 4,000 square miles of water. This is an area roughly the size of Hawaii. Resources from Coast Guard stations across the Southern States are in the area along with numerous commercial and privately owned “Good Samaritan” vessels. Operations are ongoing by air and sea.
All efforts continue to be hampered by unstable weather conditions that are seriously limiting visibility.
The Seacor Power overturned Tuesday some time after 4 p.m. Coast Guard stations reported vessels in the area reported extensive heavy rain, coupled with winds that have been reported to have had gusts near 100 mph. An immediate response began but was hampered by the same conditions.
Earlier Friday, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class said “As long as the weather permits, the divers will try to gain to access to the vessel. That is the ultimate goal,” according to nola.com
Efforts to dive in the area have been hampered. One of the ship’s legs, along with a portion of the hull remains visible above the water line. The remaining area is underwater in an area that ranges from 50 to 55 feet deep, according to the Coast Guard.
Master Diver Mark Michaud with Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search and Recovery said, “The vessel is upside down and at steep angles in two directions. There are living quarters on the vessel and other rooms. Everything in a house is inside and now floating around. Furniture, clothing, sheets, curtains, etc for example. The victims could be in multiple locations. There is no visibility so everything’s upside down and done by feel. If you have multiple rooms you have to ingress and egress safely. You don’t make a victim over a victim. You have to have a plan to locate, secure and extract 12 souls. This is a complicated and difficult operation. Many of these divers may be touching a corpse for the first time. They may know the victims. This isn’t an easy task and has to be done properly. By cutting into the vessel you could displace any air trapped that could change the balance of the vessel. You could also ignite trapped gasses. Be patient and part or think good thoughts for the divers and support personnel.”
The National Transportation Safety Board has joined the investigation into the incident. The NTSB will look into all circumstances surrounding the incident. The Seacor Power was en route to an oil platform owned by Talos Energy. The investigation will look into any role Talos may have played that contributed to the incident.See a typo? Report it here.