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Louisiana ship capsize: Search for survivors from 'lift' vessel

·2 min read
Commercial vessel, reportedly the Seacor Power, capsized
The commercial vessel was operated by Seacor Power

Rescuers are searching for the missing crew members of a large commercial vessel after it capsized off the US state of Louisiana.

The US Coast Guard confirmed one person was found dead and six others had been rescued. Twelve people are missing.

A spokesman said the search team was "giving it all we got" but described conditions as "challenging".

The lift boat capsized about eight miles (12km) from Port Fourchon on Tuesday afternoon.

The 129ft (39m) vessel was identified as belonging to marine transport firm Seacor Marine.

A lift boat is a self-propelled vessel with an open deck, often using legs and jacks, and is deployed to support drilling or exploration.

Map
Map

Seacor spokesman Armond Batiste told the New York Times that the ship was the Seacor Power.

The Coast Guard said boats and aircraft were covering a wide area looking for survivors.

Earlier, spokesman Will Watson said the vessel overturned amid strong winds and heavy seas that were "challenging under any circumstances".

But he said he was hopeful that survivors could still be found.

"We're giving it all we have," Capt Watson said. "You can't do this work if you're not optimistic."

The Coast Guard said it had received an emergency radio notification at 16:30 (21:30 GMT) that there was a distressed commercial vessel about eight miles from the coast.

It said an "urgent marine information broadcast" had been issued which "multiple good Samaritan boat crews responded to".

Coast Guard rescue operation
Coast Guard and other ships have so far rescued six people

Two Coast Guard ships rescued one person each, while civilian boat crews pulled four additional people out of the water.

Another person was found dead as rescue operations continue amid choppy waters.

There are now four Coast Guard vessels, four civilian boats, and an Ocean Sentry search and rescue aeroplane searching the water for the rest of the crew.

The New York Times quoted a Coast Guard official as saying it was possible some of them might still be trapped inside the vessel.

The National Weather Service's New Orleans area head, Benjamin Schott, told NBC News that a "wake low" weather phenomenon on Tuesday afternoon caused winds of 70-80mph, which would have made the seas very rough.

While incidents are decreasing year-on-year, there are still dangers associated with commercial shipping.

According to the AGCS Safety and Shipping Review 2020, a total of 951 ships have been lost in the past 10 years - 15 of them in 2019.

One-third of ship losses in 2019 happened in South China, Indochina, the Philippines and Indonesia, the report added - describing this area as "the global hotspot".