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NTSB releases preliminary report on Seacor Power

Seacor Power site
Posted at 1:24 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 15:18:18-04

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report regarding the Seacor Power disaster.

The report is very short, with only a basic outline of what happened on April 13, when the lift boat capsized. As we've reported, 19 people were on board. Six were rescued, another six were recovered deceased and seven remain missing.

Here's a statement from Paul M. Sterbcow, the New Orleans attorney who represents surviving Seacor vessel crew members James Gracien and Bryan Mires, and the families of contract worker/decedents Joe Guevara, Jr. and Dylan Daspit:

"We are unable to comment further on this tragedy at this time. We understand and appreciate the public’s concern for and interest in the vessel capsizing and those whose lives have changed forever. However, the survivors and the families of those lost at sea continue to deal with an extremely difficult situation. 7 men remain missing and vessel salvage operations are ongoing. We refer you to the NTSB Preliminary Report that was just issued for a factual summary of events to date. We will provide updates as appropriate and consistent with our responsibilities to our clients, the ongoing investigation and the pending federal court litigation."

The report, which you can read for yourself below, details what happened before the vessel turned over.

"The voyage was expected to take 18 hours at a vessel speed of about 4 knots. Prior to getting under way, equipment to be used by the offshore workers was loaded onto the Seacor Power’s main deck. A weather report emailed to the vessel at 0702 that morning predicted afternoon winds at 9–12 knots from the southeast, with 3-foot seas," the report states. "About 1530, a rain squall passed over the vessel as it transited the open waters of the gulf. Visibility dropped and the winds increased significantly, so crew decided to lower the Seacor Power’s legs to the seafloor to hold the vessel in position until the storm passed. When the legs began to descend, the crewmember at the helm attempted to turn the vessel into the winds. Before the turn was completed, the Seacor Power heeled to starboard and capsized."

"Vessels in the area reported heavy rain, winds exceeding 80 knots, and building seas at the time of the accident. Search and rescue efforts were hampered by 30–40-knot winds and 10–12-foot seas that persisted throughout the evening and into the next day. Six personnel were rescued by the Coast Guard and Good Samaritan vessels, and the bodies of six fatally injured personnel were recovered. Seven remain missing," the report states.

"Good Samaritan vessels in the area responded to the stricken vessel’s location, as well as a pre-commissioning Coast Guard cutter. Coast Guard response boats, a civilian helicopter, and Coast Guard fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft joined in rescue efforts, but high winds and seas that had built to 10–12 feet prevented them from reaching the personnel remaining on the Seacor Power. Some who had been clinging to the vessel were washed into the water, and six were eventually rescued. One survivor suffered a serious injury," the report states.

The report also details how the NTSB investigation began.

"While on scene, investigators collected documentation and interviewed survivors, other personnel who had crewed the vessel, owner and charterer representatives, vessel inspectors and surveyors, and search and rescue responders. Investigators intend to return to the scene when the Seacor Power is salvaged to inspect the vessel and collect further evidence. The NTSB is the lead federal agency for the safety investigation. The Coast Guard, Seacor Marine LLC, the National Weather Service, and the American Bureau of Shipping have been named parties to the NTSB investigation," the report states.

Here's the full report: