12 missing after ship capsizes off Louisiana coast

Thursday, April 15

(Photo: @USCG Heartland)

The U.S. Coast Guard in Louisiana said Wednesday that one body was recovered, six people were rescued and 12 people were still missing after a commercial lift vessel carrying 19 people capsized in storm-tossed seas in the Gulf of Mexico.  

At a news conference in New Orleans, Sector Coast Guard Commander Captain Will Watson said winds were reported between 130 and 145 kph and seas were between 2 and 3 meters high at the time the Coast Guard believes the ship capsized late Tuesday. 

A spokesman for the owner of the ship, Seacor Marine transportation company, said the vessel was the 39-meter lift boat Seacor Power. Watson told reporters 19 people were aboard the vessel when it left port Tuesday.  

The Coast Guard reported it responded to an emergency beacon Tuesday afternoon from the vessel, which was 13 kilometers south of Port Fourchon, on the southern tip of Louisiana.

It issued an urgent marine information broadcast to which multiple "good Samaritan" ships in the area responded. 

A lift boat is a self-propelled vessel with an open deck that is deployed to carry heavy equipment, often to support drilling or exploration. 

The Coast Guard said two of its vessels arrived at the scene within 30 minutes and pulled two people from the water. Other vessels at the scene rescued four others. 

The National Weather Service said a rare low-pressure system had formed Tuesday off the coast of Louisiana, which generated unusually rough seas in the area.

Source: Newsday/VOA