NTSB Releases Report on Capsized Gulf of Mexico Vessel
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has published a preliminary report as part of its ongoing investigation of the fatal capsizing of the Seacor Power liftboat, which occurred on April 13, near Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
According to the report, the Seacor Power departed Port Fourchon at about 1:30 p.m. on April 13 and was bound for the oil and gas lease area Main Pass Block 138 in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). At about 3:30 p.m., as the vessel transited the open waters of the GOM, a rain squall passed over the liftboat, and as visibility dropped and winds increased significantly, the crew decided to lower the vessels legs to the seafloor to hold it in position until the storm passed, the report outlined.
The crewmember at the helm attempted to turn the Seacor Power into the wind as the legs began to descend, but before the turn was completed, the liftboat heeled to starboard and capsized, the report revealed. Several people were able to escape onto the exposed, port side of the Seacor Power deckhouse but high winds and seas that had built to 10 to 12 feet prevented rescuers from reaching those who remained on the vessel, according to the report. Some were said to be washed into the water and six were eventually rescued, with one survivor suffering a serious injury, the report highlighted.
The report noted that there were 19 people aboard the U.S.-flagged, 175 foot long vessel at the time of the accident. Six people were rescued by the Coast Guard and Good Samaritan vessels, six people died in the accident, and seven remain missing.
NTSB investigators interviewed survivors, other personnel who previously crewed the Seacor Power, representatives for the owner and charterer, vessel inspectors and surveyors, and search and rescue responders. When the Seacor Power is salvaged, NTSB investigators intend to return to inspect the vessel and collect further evidence.
The NTSB emphasized that information in its report is preliminary and subject to change as the investigation progresses. As such, it says no conclusions about the cause of the accident should be drawn from the report.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged by congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation. The NTSB has five board members, each nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate to serve five year terms.
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