The Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis (CG-INV) recently posted a report of investigation (ROI) on the capsizing of the liftboat Seacor Power approximately seven miles south of Port Fourchon, La., in the Gulf of Mexico. The accident resulted in the loss of 13 lives.
The investigation was a formal Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) convened by the commandant of the Coast Guard.
On April 13, 2021, the liftboat made its way into the Gulf of Mexico from Port Fourchon, La., headed for an offshore rig owned by Talos Energy. In route, the boat motored into a storm and Seacor Power capsized. Six out of the 19 onboard the vessel owned by Seacor Marine were rescued, the rest are dead or remain missing. Among the dead was the boat’s captain, David Ledet.
A small but intense low-pressure system, known to meteorologists as a wake low, passed through the area on the afternoon of the incident, creating hurricane-force winds of 80-90 mph and seas offshore of 7' to 9'. Though bad weather had been forecasted, the intensity of the storm took everyone by surprise.
Following its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the capsizing of the Seacor Power was a loss of stability that occurred when the vessel was struck by severe thunderstorm winds, which exceeded the vessel’s operational wind speed limits. Contributing to the loss of life on the vessel were the speed at which the vessel capsized and the angle at which it came to rest, which made egress difficult. The high winds and seas in the aftermath of the capsizing hampered rescue efforts.
The MBI issued 27 safety recommendations, four administrative recommendations, three findings of concern, and 16 best practices. A commandant’s final action memorandum (FAM) detailing the Coast Guard response and actions on each recommendation is included with the report of investigation.