Salvage operations have started on capsized lift boat Seacor Power, which overturned in a hurricane-force squall in the US Gulf of Mexico
Salvage operations have started on capsized lift boat Seacor Power, which overturned in a hurricane-force squall in the US Gulf of Mexico. According to the US Coast Guard (USCG), salvage crews are removing fuel from the upturned vessel in preparation for its eventual recovery.
Salvors from Donjon-Smit and Phoenix International are working on the project, 13 km off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, according to Seacor Marine. Crews arrived on the site on 1-2 May and started familiarising themselves with the maritime casualty and equipment required for the work. On 3 May they started removing fuel from Seacor Power. They are using a hot tapping method to extract fuel from the tanks on the vessel, drilling into the fuel tanks and making a hose connection without ruining the integrity of the tank or causing pollution. “Divers are performing this process above and below the water, connected to an air hose,” said USCG.
Weather and sea conditions are important factors in the progress of this salvage work. “If weather conditions exceed approximately 15 mph winds, 1.2-m seas, and the current is faster than 1.25 mph, work will cease until there are safer conditions,” said USCG.
The authority has warned others to start away from the site to enable salvage teams to be unhindered. “It is imperative mariners respect the 1.6 km safety zone during these evolutions,” said USCG.
Prior to starting this work, lift boat Seacor Eagle was preparing to be used for the salvage project and was in drydock for repairs when the call came for its use.
Inspectors from USCG’s marine safety unit in Houma and Lafayette attended the vessel in drydock.
“The inspectors needed to go through the vessel top to bottom and ensure it was in safe and good condition,” said USCG. “The inspection also included drills for the crew such as man overboard.”
Seacor Power capsized off the coast of Port Fourchon on 13 April with the loss of lives in one of the US’ worst maritime and offshore accidents in recent decades. When the search for survivors was call off, on 20 April, only six of the vessel’s 19 crew were rescued and six bodies had been recovered.
On 6 May, Seacor Marine chief executive John Gellert said the company “continues to grieve for our crew members, partners and the loved ones of those who were lost in the capsizing of the Seacor Power.” He continued “Their memories will live long in our hearts, minds and communities. We are grateful for the efforts of all those involved in our search and rescue efforts. As salvage operations continue, we remain focused on supporting our team members and their families and will keep them in our prayers.”
Coastguard boat and air crews, local agencies and private vessels and aircraft were involved in a search that covered more than 9,200 square nautical miles, according to the USCG.
Seacor Power is a three-legged lift boat with a maximum working depth of 59.4 m. Built in 2002 as Dixie Endeavor by Semco, the US-flag lift boat has a fair market value of US$1.82M and is insured by Skuld, according to UK-based ship valuations firm VesselsValue.
Also this week, USCG scuttled derelict tugboat Lumberman offshore southeast Alaska on 2 May. It was assisted by City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Docks and Harbors and Global Diving and Salvage in this project.
USCG Sentinel–class cutter John McCormick towed the 32.6-m steel hulled tugboat to a position 87 km west of Cross Sound where it was sunk in more than 2,560 m of water.
Lumberman had been unused since it was abandoned in the Gastineau Channel in 2016. The decision to dispose of Lumberman at sea was made after it was determined to be derelict and posed a significant public safety risk.
CBJ hired Global Diving and Salvage to remove hazardous material and debris, to conduct a stability assessment and prepare the tug for sinking. CBJ obtained an environmental protection assessment and general permit for vessel disposal at sea following environmental consultation with key stakeholders.
Salvage operations, case studies and issues will be discussed in depth during Riviera Maritime Media’s inaugural ITS Salvage Webinar Week, on 15-17 June. Use this link to access more details and to register for these webinars