PORT FOURCHON, La. — Two weeks after their work began, salvage crews have finished removing diesel fuel from the capsized SEACOR Power lift boat’s fuel tanks, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.
Crews removed about 20,363 gallons of diesel fuel from the ship by drilling holes into fuel tanks and using hoses to transfer the fuel to portable tanks. The USCG said about 4,500 gallons of hydraulic fluid remain on the ship in inaccessible tanks.
“Salvage crews will now move to the salvage phase, focusing on removing debris and refloating the vessel,” the coast guard said. The timeline for that process depends on the weather, safety of the crews and addressing any new structural changes that may occur on the ship.
“The priority is to salvage the vessel in a safe and efficient manner. The raising of the vessel is not expected to occur before June,” the USCG said.
Salvage crews remove fuel from Seacor Power
The capsize remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the USCG. On Tuesday, the NTSB released a preliminary report on the capsize that provided a deeper look at the conditions faced by the 19 crew members on board when the ship sank on April 13.
The NTSB said the Power’s captain tried to lower the ship’s three stilt legs in order to steady the ship in the wind. But the move came too late and the vessel capsized.
Six crewmen were rescued and the bodies of six others were found by searchers in the days after the capsize. Seven crew members remain missing more than a month later, despite dive teams searching inside the submerged vessel to locate them.