HOUMA, La. — The U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that the SEACOR Power is too damaged to be lifted from the Gulf of Mexico as a whole and will instead be raised to the surface and brought to shore in separate pieces.
Over the last week, salvage crews have been working to remove obstructions from the seafloor around the ship. The USCG said the liftboat is in the same location where it sank but has rotated. Salvage teams report that there is cracking and that the hull has separated from the superstructure.
Officials say Donjon-SMIT salvage teams are outfitting a barge with a pump system that will allow it to be submerged and moved under larger sections of the ship. The barge will then be refloated with help from a crane barge on the surface. Safety netting will be around the section openings as it is raised and moved.
The USCG says the removal of the largest sections is expected to be completed by the end of June. That timeline may be adjusted due to weather or any changes to the ship’s structure. SEACOR expects that cleanup of any debris from the capsize will extend through July.
SEACOR and the salvage team briefed family members of the missing crew members during a meeting in Houma on Wednesday. Seven crew members remain missing since the ship capsized in April.
The capsize remains under investigation by the USCG and the National Transportation Safety Board.