The Louisiana maritime industry is still collectively reeling from the recent tragic capsize and sinking of a lift boat vessel carrying 19 crewmembers. Six of the crew were rescued by the Coast Guard and responding fishermen, six bodies have been recovered and seven more remain unaccounted for.
The crew departed from Port Fourchon on April 13 in a 234-foot oil services vessel. The captain encountered rough and stormy seas about seven miles into a 100-mile journey to an offshore platform due south from the port. They were traveling there to deliver supplies and other equipment when the sea swells caused the vessel to capsize.
How could this have occurred?
The design of a liftboat allows it to work in depths of nearly 200 feet. There were also two cranes supporting 120-foot booms on both cranes. The cranes allow the equipment, supplies and personnel to be lifted upon the rigs once the trio of legs sinks down into the bottom of the water and anchor into the sandy bottom, raising the platform and making it functional for the working crews.
It appears the unusually strong winds and high swells proved too much for the vessel and the captain lost his fight to keep it afloat in the tempest.
A community comes together to support families
The close-knit community of Terrebonne Parish responded immediately, with the nonprofit Cajun Navy rescue group taking to the seas on a mission to rescue the remaining crew members with the help of volunteer searchers and professionals. Sadly, their efforts turned instead toward recovery and all searching has now ended.
Maritime workers face extreme risks
As anyone who works out of the Gulf of Mexico knows, the waters can appear as calm as a sea of glass or turn into 10-foot seas with very little notice. If you suffered injuries offshore or on a vessel, know that there is help to bring you civil justice.