Liftboat capsizes off the coast

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Maritime Law |

The Coast Guard suspended its search on April 19 for sailors aboard the capsized liftboat Seacor Power. The 129-foot boat with 19 onboard went down around 4:30 p.m. on April 13 amidst hurricane-force winds eight miles off the coast of Port Fourchon. The search and rescue effort yielded six drowned crewmen and six surviving crew members. There are still seven men missing.

An April 18 news conference announced the end of the rescue operation. It included the Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the president of Seacor Marine, which owned the boat. The president said: “The crew is one of our most veteran crews. We feel we have done everything possible.” The company said it would continue to use divers to look for crew members.

Invented here in Louisiana in 1955, Liftboats are self-propelled boats that drive legs or pillars down to the ocean floor. The vessel then will literally lift itself out of the water. The ships can be over 400 feet long and work in water over 300 feet deep. It is often used for construction or mineral exploration because it can provide a stable work platform while at sea. They will often feature one or two cranes.

The Seacor Power left port after an initial weather event passed through the area, but there were still more forecasts for heavy weather to continue. The boat captain made the call to leave port. It capsized when another front moved in with winds estimated between 70-80 mph and causing rough seas. The boat capsized when the crew was five feet above the water and jacking down. The ship was delivering equipment to a Talos Energy oil platform.

Our condolences go out to the crewmen’s family and friends.