HOUMA, La. (KLFY) On Monday, the National Weather Service testified about what they saw the day the Seacor Power capsized.
According to a lead forecaster, Port Fourchon was warned several times of weather that could capsize a ship.
It’s sad to say the forecaster out of New Orleans saw dangerous weather heading in the direction of Port Fourchon hours before the vessel left port.
Special marine warnings were issued, but not heeded.
“Did you personally have any concerns of the weather that day?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely. We were basically rolling immediately into severe weather operations mode.”
Before 8 A.M. the National Weather Service in New Orleans moved from a marginal risk for severe weather to a slight risk.
By 9 a.m. a severe thunderstorm where strong winds dove down like a jet stream hit Baton Rouge with hail.
The south side of that system spun off a line of storms at noon causing warnings in Lake Ponchartrain, New Orleans, and the Gulf Coast.
Between 12: 08 and 2:27 p.m. the developing situation resulted in the NWS issuing three separate special marine warnings in the Seacor Power’s voyage area.
It warned of winds above the liftboat’s capabilities and the possibility of capsizing.
“If that line of storms reached the coast at 3’o’clock, anyone who was paying attention, it wasn’t a surprise to them. Was it? It wasn’t a surprise to you?”
“It was not a surprise to me since I was following the radar that day, and if anybody would have had appropriate situational awareness, I would say they should have been aware of the thunderstorms approaching.”
According to the Coast Guard Communications Commanding Officer, the crew’s awareness was limited.
Due to their internet connectivity with Verizon, no weather alerts were sent to ships Navtech between noon and 4:23 the afternoon the Seacor Power capsized.
“We have one of these issues maybe once a year and it’s very limited in the outage timeframe. It just happened to be that this is the day.”
There were other ways the Seacor Power owners and crew could have received those special marine warnings including mobile alerts or checking the National Weather Service website.