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Commercial Ship Capsizes in Gulf


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It's a Liftboat, the SEACOR POWER, not too far off Port Fourchon.  12 out of 19 still missing, weather was bad, and it had some way higher winds, possibly tornadic or outfall winds,  reportedly over 100 knots, yesterday afternoon.

She is three-quarters rolled over, the visible spud is retracted, so she must have been in "vessel" mode rather than lift mode when the weather overcame her.  The tall legs above her when in "vessel" configuration, may have made her more susceptible to the extreme winds and helped roll and capsize her. 

Let's hope the missing are still on board, inside, and still alive.  If so, and if the still-rotten weather will subside, then let's hope divers can penetrate and find them.

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https://www.wwltv.com/video/news/capsized-liftboat-update/289-2902b394-152b-40f7-84fb-81933998cee3

 

    I never trusted those lift boats! The press has been calling it a 'lifeboat' at times and even say that they are used to transport materials to offshore rigs. No so sure about that as they are not particularly speedy and what good do those lift spuds do in water more that 100' or so? Those things stay inshore pretty much. But then I could be wrong.

 

    We are about to get that same squall line here on the Redneck Riviera. Pretty calm now but had some heavy rains about an hour ago. These systems are a pretty regular thing here on the Gulf but they are coming at an increasingly rapid pace and are much more powerful. Last Friday we had 70 knot straightline winds and softball hail down here on the beach and bayou in Orange Beach.

 

Orange Beach Alabama AL was bombed by huge hail! Is it normal weather yet?  - YouTube

 

    ]My GF had her less that a year old Lexus RX350L get flooded and totaled by the insurance company after Hurricane Sally last year fall. She replaced it with a 2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid and with less that 2000 miles on it the hail dented it up pretty bad but at least the glass didn't break! Hundreds of cars in OB had glass and dent damage and even the Spring Breakers from up Arkansas way who are used to hail couldn't believe the intensity of our event.

    I did look up the lift boat (I've always called them Jack Up barges) but I guess when they get to 129' long and are self propelled they deserve to be called liftboats.

LIFTBOAT-Seacor-Power-PRIMARY-IMAGE.jpg

 

    Specs say they can work in 195' deep water! Two 185 ton cranes and the legs and tophamper must have been enough sail area to go over.

SEACOR_Power_GA_Cranes_2-1280x1474.jpg

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Hope our resident SA gulf oil worker (jkdub or something like that) not affected or has friends or coworkers involved. Hoping for best outcome but as time passes rescue less likely. 

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https://weather.com/news/news/2021-04-14-capsized-boat-louisiana-missing-search

 

Weather channel had video off a boat in the area when the storm hit. The waves were not only big but there was no time between them, just big wave after big wave slamming the boat.

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3 hours ago, Foreverslow said:

https://weather.com/news/news/2021-04-14-capsized-boat-louisiana-missing-search

 

Weather channel had video off a boat in the area when the storm hit. The waves were not only big but there was no time between them, just big wave after big wave slamming the boat.

I’m guessing you never sailed the GOM. Short period waves are normal, even well offshore 

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3 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I’m guessing you never sailed the GOM. Short period waves are normal, even well offshore 

no, but that sounds like the Chesapeake due to being so shallow.  But they had more fetch to really let the waves build.

 

Interesting quote:

Capt. Ronald Dufrene told CBS his offshore trawler "Mister Jug" was in the area when the incident occurred. He said winds were at least 80 mph and seas rose 15 to 20 feet. 

"They lost the wind gage at 80 miles an hour," Dufrene said. "They say it blew like that for more than an hour."

"People who have been fishing 30, 40 years - the first time they put their life jackets on was yesterday. ... I know three boats for sure said that," Dufrene said.

 

When the hardasses get religion about PFDs, you know it was bad.

Severe storm fronts have been going on for several days now.  Got a text from a buddy in New Orleans a couple days ago warning of an approaching cold front that had trashed his home.  Worst storm he had seen in years including a couple hurricanes.  Luckily it died out before hitting us.

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4 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I’m guessing you never sailed the GOM. Short period waves are normal, even well offshore 

GOM is the home of "the square wave", short/irregular periods and even in a blow they are not from the same direction.  Not looking good for the missing.

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Update from Coast Guard this afternoon:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/2cd1a1d

Lots of assets, weather not quite so rotten today, winds from Northeast so it will have less fetch to make seas rough, though another wet front on the way>

NTSB now on-scene, it's a "Major Marine Casualty", no surprise there.  

Ocean searches have been extensive in coverage, and note now there are divers on-scene.  No one's talking much, but with 12 still "missing", it's looking more likely they are not at sea, but still on board.  Which does not look good, I wish it did, the accommodation house is all underwater from the git-go, and not-quite upside down.  This is the part that is hard for folks to contemplate, much less talk about.  Where are they, is there air, where and how much, are they alive, is it pitch-black, where to send the divers when the do penetrate?

The Gulf is a tough place, too often you get the test first, and the lesson afterwards.  Let's hope and pray for the best, for the families, and everyone.

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14 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I’m guessing you never sailed the GOM. Short period waves are normal, even well offshore 

Reminds me of the Volvo race when they were going to race up the South China Sea. They were warned it is not a nice place to be at that time of the year, but what did we know, these guys did the southern ocean...

Damage was spectacular.

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11 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Wonder what the range of stability of that vessel looks like. 

Similar to this shape/angle.  This particular vessel also has spuds.

image.thumb.png.acfd05b6a400b12f5e0edc2399d7ade4.png

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Similar to this shape/angle.  This particular vessel also has spuds.

image.thumb.png.acfd05b6a400b12f5e0edc2399d7ade4.png

Does the end of the graph at 48 degrees indicate loss of stability?

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No, when it hits zero on the vertical axis it's not stable. 

For the vessel I took this from the calculation stopped at 45 deg for some reason. I try to stay away from the serious stability calcs. I can do basic stuff but the complex criteria required hurts my head.

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Looks like the divers are getting close to attempting entry.  Weather and seas have made even getting close to an entry point dicey.  DonJon Marine is an experienced salvage outfit.  I don't know if they have their own divers, or are contracting with some of the Gulf-area commercial dive ships, such as H. J. Merrihue. 

Can you pray with your fingers crossed, for extra measure??  That's what the families and many locals are hoping.

 

Long ago I chaired a Coast Guard Marine Board along with the NTSB, in a ship-supply boat collision at night in the Mississippi River near Venice.  Three of the supply boat's four crew drowned, but not immediately, they were heard shouting for help.  They swam as long as they could, and the ship threw life rings and launched its lifeboat, but could not reach them in time in the swift current.  Heartbreaking for the families.  

The supply boat didn't sink right away, its highest point, a bit of the port side plating, was barely awash, stuck under the ship's bow.  The sole survivor was asleep in his bunk forward, trapped but with an air pocket.  Divers (Merrihue) were able to get into the wreck and rescue him the following day. It was harrowing for him, and not easy for us to listen to his account (which is described on page 10 of the report here), but he lived:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Marine_Accident_Report/cQxUAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=coastal+transport+sallee+p+coast+guard+marine+board+report&pg=PA1&printsec=frontcover

This is going to be a tougher chance since it's offshore and the seas are challenging, and the house structure is well submerged.  And it's been three days so far. 

 

It's been decades since I read that report.  But it all came back to me.   Nothing else i can say that's useful except just keep hoping..

 

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One of the folks on the weather channel interviewed a fiance of a crew member. She said she had been texting with her SO earlier in the day,  and they had talked about fact the boat was in harbor and went out knowing a nasty storm was forecast.  According to her, he thought leaving port was a stupid move.

If true and there are such texts, the shipping company is going to have to do some serious damage control.  Unlikely to hear much on this angle until recovery efforts are complete.

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On 4/16/2021 at 12:17 AM, Zonker said:

Similar to this shape/angle.  This particular vessel also has spuds.

image.thumb.png.acfd05b6a400b12f5e0edc2399d7ade4.png

Can you predict how many degrees of heel lifts a hull out of water and let’s wind get under the main deck?   
image.thumb.jpeg.2464d1cf481c6df2162f873994150221.jpeg

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4 hours ago, Mike in Seattle said:

I'm getting a bit  concerned about jkdubs,  his last post was 04 Apr, 

 

I had the same thought. Anyone know what vessel he is on?

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On 4/17/2021 at 2:49 PM, F_L said:

I had the same thought. Anyone know what vessel he is on?

What’s his surname, and is he captain of his boat?

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    I think he was on a seismic survey boat so I doubt they would be in such shallow water as it was where the lift boat flipped. Hopefully they were out in deep water and didn't have any towed arrays out to complicate things. I'm thinking his silence here is due to these fellow sailors and crew are part of the GOM tribe and there may even be legal advise to keep ones mouth shut until things are sorted out. He may just be out fishing as that was what most of his posts here were all about. I think his Dad is an Anarchist here and haven't seen any word from him.

   

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1 hour ago, nolatom said:

What’s his surname, and is he captain of his boat?

I went through a few of his old posts. He is on a drill ship. So couldn't be the same vessel (I hope).

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4 hours ago, Mike in Seattle said:

Thanks, Sol

The flipped boat was on 12~13 Apr

I saw something this weekend from his wife, posting that they were going fishing. Nice day.  Looked like a dawn patrol. 

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Well, 7 days and no further joy.  Search suspended:

https://www.nola.com/news/article_f79d2c12-a139-11eb-8edf-c79eb06dc653.html

I was trying to come up with something compassionate but realistic to say, if not to the families, then at least to me in the mirror. The words don't come.

 

I'm heading out to Lake in a couple minutes to help teach high-school kids to sail, in a "crew-to-captain" class.  Their first-ever sails were last Monday.  More to come.  Beautiful day here. 

Probably where I'm meant to be today.

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2 hours ago, nolatom said:

Well, 7 days and no further joy.  Search suspended:

https://www.nola.com/news/article_f79d2c12-a139-11eb-8edf-c79eb06dc653.html

I was trying to come up with something compassionate but realistic to say, if not to the families, then at least to me in the mirror. The words don't come.

 

I'm heading out to Lake in a couple minutes to help teach high-school kids to sail, in a "crew-to-captain" class.  Their first-ever sails were last Monday.  More to come.  Beautiful day here. 

Probably where I'm meant to be today.

Damn! Fair winds guys and RIP.

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  • 1 month later...

For those who may be interested, here's the preliminary NTSB report:

https://gcaptain.com/ntsb-preliminary-report-offers-new-details-on-seacor-power-capsizing/?subscriber=true&goal=0_f50174ef03-b44d2a4f2e-139795957&mc_cid=b44d2a4f2e&mc_eid=0a747aadd9

Supposedly early morning weather report was benign.  But she didn't get underway til early afternoon, heading south, legs up. Rotten weather by then, as it had been for days before, and after.  Some kind of extreme squall moving north to south kicked winds up to 80 knots (many have said it was more like 100).  Captain tried to turn her to port into the wind, and got capsized to starboard.  The plan had been to lower the legs and jack up in order to get stable above the heavy seas.

Should they have just stayed in Port Fourchon?  Absolutely, in hindsight.  Problem is, hindsight doesn't help the families one whit.

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