The U.S. Coast Guard will next week hold a formal public hearing to consider evidence related to the April 2021 capsizing of the liftboat Seacor Power and the death of 13 of its 19 crewmembers in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Seacor Power liftboat capsized, April 13, 2021, about seven miles south of Port Fourchon, La., in the Gulf of Mexico with 19 crewmembers aboard.
Six crewmembers were initially rescued, and six were recovered unresponsive during the course of the response.
Coast Guard boat and aircrews, local agencies, and good Samaritans searched for a cumulative 175 hours, covering more than 9,200 square nautical miles, over the course of six days before suspending the search for the remaining seven crewmembers April 19.
The hearing to consider evidence related to the fatal incident will take place at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Houma, La, and the event is open to the public. The hearing will be available online too at the following link https://livestream.com/uscginvestigations and will also be recorded with the recordings and available for public access.
The hearing is scheduled to convene daily at 8 a.m. Central Daylight Time on weekdays, August 2 through August 13.
The National Transportation Safety Board is the leading agency in the Seacor Power investigation, and will participate in the Coast Guard public hearing, but will produce an independent report with its own findings.
Back in May, NTSB published a preliminary report as part of its ongoing investigation into the fatal capsizing.
According to the initial report, the vessel departed Port Fourchon at about 1:30 p.m. April 13, bound for the oil and gas lease area Main Pass Block 138 in the Gulf of Mexico. A weather report emailed to the vessel at 7:02 a.m. that day predicted afternoon winds at 9 to 12 knots from the southeast with 3-foot seas.
NTSB investigators learned that at about 3:30 p.m., as the Seacor Power transited the open waters of the Gulf, a squall passed over the lifeboat.
With visibility dropping and winds increasing significantly, the crew decided to lower the Seacor Power’s legs to the seafloor to hold the vessel in position until the storm passed. The crewmember at the helm attempted to turn the Seacor Power into the wind as the legs began to descend. Before the turn was completed, the liftboat heeled to starboard and capsized.
NTSB investigators also learned several people were able to escape onto the exposed, port side of the Seacor Power deckhouse. High winds and seas that had built to 10 to 12 feet prevented rescuers from reaching those who remained on the liftboat. Some were washed into the water and six were eventually rescued, with one survivor suffering a serious injury.
NTSB investigators have 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.
Earlier this month salvors raised the bow section of the Seacor Power. The Donjon-SMIT salvage team lifted the bow section to the surface of the water and transported it by barge to the Modern American Recycling Services, Inc. (M.A.R.S.) facility in Houma, La.