A report of a possible distress flare from Bourbon Offshore‘s tug/supply vessel Bourbon Rhode, which sunk in Hurricane Lorenzo at the end of September, has turned up nothing.
On the night of Sunday, Oct. 6 to Monday, Oct. 7, the CROSS French West Indies-Guyana (Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue) dispatched four ships to search the area, with the support of an overflight by the U.S. Coast Guard’s aircraft. Over the past week, the search has been intense and extensive to try to detect a sign after on the one hand, the report of this potential distress flare and on the other hand, the satellite photo obtained from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). These new searches have unfortunately been unsuccessful.
As a whole, search operations have not found any trace of life or life rafts for more than 10 days now despite measures of exceptional magnitude. As a reminder, search and rescue operations have been going on for 16 days, with the sinking of the ship taking place on Sept. 26 as it faced Hurricane Lorenzo.
As decided by the CROSS, search operations are not suspended and won’t stop on a specific date. But they are entering a new phase of active monitoring during which the CROSS will mobilize all vessel transiting in the area to implement an adapted monitoring.
“Our priority is to provide families and relatives of the Bourbon Rhode crew with all possible support under these tragic circumstances,” Bourbon CEO Gaël Bodénès said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of all the employees and in particular all those who work tirelessly within the Bourbon crisis cells, I want to reiterate how much our thoughts are with the families of the missing seafarers,”
The three survivors of Bourbon Rhode’s 14-person crew are in good health and have already been reunited with their families. The four bodies of the seafarers who died during the sinking were taken care of by the funeral services and will be repatriated to their families. That leaves seven crewmembers unaccounted for.