Seacor Power First Mate refers to “whiteout” ahead of capsizing

The First Mate of liftship Seacor Power (IMO 8765682), which capsized in the Gulf of Mexico on April 13th 2021, has described the weather at the time of the event as a “whiteout”, although the seas were not overly rough.

Bryan Mires of Breaux Bridge, in an interview with investigators on April 23rd 2021, said that he was turning the vessel and extending the liftboat’s legs to avoid hitting a pipeline when the liftboat began to list. One leg of the liftboat normally extended faster than the other, so a slight list was not unusual, he said. However, in this instance, within one to two minutes, the list went from two degrees to five degrees, and he knew that the vessel was capsizing.

The public docket containing interviews with surviving crew members of the Seacor Power was opened on April 27th as part of the National Transportation Safety Board’s ongoing investigation. It includes more than 8,000 pages of factual information but does not reach any conclusions as to the cause of the fatal event.

Analysis, findings, probable cause determinations and recommendations will be released by the NTSB at a later date.

A news release by the NTSB noted a rain squall passed over the Seacor Power in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Visibility dropped and winds increased significantly, so the crew began lowering the liftboat’s legs to hold the vessel in position to ride out the storm. The liftboat leaned to the starboard side and capsized.

There were 19 personnel aboard the vessel at the time. They included nine crew, two galley staff, and eight offshore workers.

The US Coast Guard and Good Samaritan boats rescued six people. Mires was rescued by the Cape Cod vessel. In his interview he stated that “they threw a life ring and the swells at this point were big. They looked like 15-footers in the water. The first time they tried to pull me up, I could hear the rope sliding through their hands. I went feet first because I didn’t want to get hit with the head, with my head on the side of the hull. So my feet were first. And then the second wave came up and pretty much washed me on the deck. When they got close enough they [dragged] me on.”

Captain David Ledet was with Mires when the vessel capsized, but he did not survive.

2002-built, USA-flagged, 2,276 gt Seacor Power is owned by Falcon Global Offshore II LLC care of manager Seacor Liftboats LLC of Louisiana, USA. ISM manager is Seacor Marine LLC of Morgan City, Louisiana, USA. It is entered with Skuld (Business Unit Skuld Offshore) on behalf of Falcon Global Holdings LLC. (CHECK)