LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) — Video provided from a June 9 family meeting shows why families are concerned with the recovery of the Seacor Power. They fear not being adequately updated on damage to the vessel and that remains may possibly be lost.
Updated pictures show what’s happened to Seacor Power. The legs have broken off and the inside of the boat is exposed. That changes the salvage plan, and it was the reason for the family meeting was called.
In the audio one family member can be heard asking, “We understand that we can’t have all of the facts, but why couldn’t it have been said that hey everyone the boat rolled over?”
Seacor Operations Manager Joey Ruiz answered, “As I told Mr. Scott (Daspit) earlier, we will do a better job going forward.”
From pictures on social media, families already knew of the catastrophic damage Seacor Power sustained before salvagers, Seacor, and the Coast Guard informed them. What they didn’t know why the information was not shared with them sooner.
According to salvagers, the boat broke into pieces during a weather event between May 18 and 25 which is causing volunteers to restart their search.
Chris DeRouen, Gulfcoast Humanitarian Efforts Vice President, asked in the meeting why the emergency line did not prevent further capsizing.
“They’re supposed to secure it They failed to secure it,” DeRouen claimed. “The best opportunity for a person that if they were to still be on board, would be intact in that hull or the living quarters, the accommodations section as they call it, and now it is in pieces.”
Donjon Marine Salvage told families the damage included the lift boat completely flipping over and capsizing, all support legs from the vessel detaching as well as the wheelhouse and two levels of the living quarters breaking off and falling deep into the mud.
One man can be heard asking, “Is there any expectation that you will find the bodies once the vessel gets up?
Senior Salvage Master Djago with Donjon Smith can be heard replying, “Good question. Yes. We might. Maybe, we think.”
A woman follows up asking, “So there is areas where a body could be?” To which Djago replies, “Yeah.”
Families asked how the salvage teams will keep anything from entering and exiting the exposed hulls. They said nets magnetically attached to the hull will eventually be placed but not yet.
“We don’t have safety nets in place yet?” a woman asks.
“No we don’t,” answered Seacor Operations Manager Joey Ruiz “We do have enclosures that are possible to be closed, but once we start lifting it then the safety nets will be placed with magnets over the openings.”
Additionally, the families do not believe the weather ever got as rough as the companies claim it did to cause the damage.
“This was a serious storm that lasted for 6 days. We experienced 15-foot swells and 56-knot winds,” Djago stated with an accompanying Powerpoint slide.
DeRouen has searched the National Weather Service and consulted with area meteorologists and could not discover weather that severe.
“Weather reports are easy to dig up. You can find them everywhere,” DeRouen said. “None of them corroborate the weather that they claim to have as to why they’re not working or why they didn’t do certain things.”
News 10 reached out to the communication and media teams for both Seacor Marine and Donjon Marine Salvage. Neither returned our calls or emails.
There is much more to get into about how this affects the salvage plan. We’ll further explain that in a later report.