NEW ORLEANS – An offshore oil industry boat had started to put its legs down and was trying to cope with high winds when it rolled over in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana last month, according to one preliminary federal report released Tuesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board report does not discuss the cause of the fatal accident. Six people were rescued, six bodies were found and seven others are still missing and presumed dead. The full investigation could take up to two years.
The 175-foot lift boat Seacor Power was carrying nine crew members, two kitchen workers and eight offshore workers when it overturned in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane-force winds on April 13, according to the report.
Elevating boats have three or four legs, which tower over a moving boat and can be lowered down to elevate the vessel as a temporary offshore platform.
A 7 a.m. weather report forecast afternoon winds of 9 to 12 knots (10 to 14 mph, 17 to 22 km / h), according to the report.
He said other ships in the area reported winds of over 80 knots (92 mph, 148 km / h), heavy rain and rising seas around 3:30 p.m. when the crash occurred. .
A gust of rain passed over the boat as it moved through the open waters of the Gulf, and visibility declined significantly.
“The crew decided to lower the Seacor Power’s legs to the seabed to hold the ship in place until the storm passed. When the legs began to descend, the crew member at the helm attempted to turn the vessel into the winds. Before the turn was completed, the Seacor Power banked to starboard and capsized, ”the report said.
Several people were able to climb out of a corner of the deckhouse that was above the water, but high winds and 10 to 12 foot seas hampered rescue efforts. One of the survivors was seriously injured, according to the report.
He said investigators interviewed survivors, former crew members, representatives of owners and charterers, ship inspectors and inspectors, and search and rescue responders.
“Investigators intend to return to the scene when the Seacor Power is recovered to inspect the vessel and collect further evidence,” the report said.
Numerous lawsuits have been brought against the owner Seacor Marine.
The boat is still where it overturned in the gulf about 11 kilometers south of Port Fourchon. Salvage workers finished removing about 20,000 gallons (75,700 liters) of diesel from its fuel tanks over the weekend, Petty Officer Petty Officer Cory Mendenhall said on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard.
He said officials had made no decision on whether to pump hydraulic fluid and other petroleum products or leave them in tanks until the Seacor Power was ashore.