PORT FOURCHON, La. (KLFY) — The living quarters of the SEACOR Power are still buried in the Gulf with no plans to retrieve them according to multiple independent sources.
Salvage operations concluded months ago and no human remains were found. News 10 spoke with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, and more to confirm this information.
According to the NTSB, investigators arrived at Modern American Recycling Services, Inc. (M.A.R.S., Inc.) and “conducted a thorough examination of the salvaged sections of the SEACOR Power’s hull, superstructure, legs, and equipment” but that is not every part of the ship.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Hurricane Ida altered SEACOR Marine’s salvage plan.
“They had the SEACOR Power into several pieces, three pieces I believe. They had gotten two of those sections out of there, but my understanding is that the third section did get buried by sediment mud after the passing of Hurricane Ida, and then at some point, SEACOR marine decided to suspend operations,” stated USCG Sector 8 Public Affairs Officer Lieutenant John Edwards.
KLFY previously reported in a June 9 family meeting with SEACOR and salvager DON JON-SMIT the three main pieces described were the bow, the stern, and accommodations.
Reporter Neale Zeringue asked the Coast Guard if the remaining piece was indeed the living quarters’ area? Lt. Edwards replied, “That’s also my understanding of it. Yes.” The Dularge Fire Department Chief Quint Liner searched the vessel at M.A.R.S. and also stated the living quarters never arrived.
When questioned about the living quarters being buried in the Gulf, the NTSB sent this statement.
“The company is in charge of salvage operations. They would have the status on that.
Here is some background on NTSB and salvage operations:
There is no statutory or regulatory requirement for a company to salvage a vessel specifically to support an NTSB investigation. There may be other requirements for salvage, which the Coast Guard would be best suited to address.
If a salvage does occur, it is the responsibility of the company. The NTSB typically does not salvage vessels for its own purposes, although the agency has recovered specific items from wreckage if it’s deemed critical to the investigation (for example, the NTSB recovered the voyage data recorder [VDR] from the cargo vessel El Faro, which sank near the Bahamas in 2015; the Seacor Power did not have a VDR.)
It’s worth noting that examination of wreckage, if a vessel is salvaged, is just one part of a large investigation involving a large amount of evidence. Salvage is sometimes not feasible, and the lack of a salvaged vessel does not prevent the NTSB from completing a comprehensive investigation and determining the probable cause.”-Jennifer Gabris, National Transportation Safety Board Media Relations
Investigations currently take between 12 to 24 months the NTSB told News 10.
Coast Guard Lt. John Edwards added, “Whatever remains of the SEACOR Power out there in the gulf did not and does not pose a threat to the environment or to the safety and navigation of vessels in that area.”
Both the Coast Guard and NTSB pointed us to the liftboat owners, SEACOR, for further details on why the search was suspended. Hours after an email inquiry, a SEACOR representative responded, “We are looking into your question.”
On April 13, 2022, the one-year anniversary of the day the vessel was capsized, there will be a memorial dedication for the 13 men killed or presumed killed aboard the SEACOR Power. A plaque will be installed at the Lady of the Gulf Seaman’s Memorial next to the Port Fourchon Operations Center at 10 A.M.