Charter company did not request air rescue, losing possibly hours in Seacor Power search and rescue

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HOUMA, La. (KLFY) – Who was responsible for the emergency response when the Seacor Power capsized? On Wednesday, the liftboat owners answered that question. Thursday, the company that chartered the final voyage was questioned.

Talos Energy is an oil and gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the company has no fleet or aircraft of their own, they contract them, and they hired the Seacor Power to bring men and cargo to clean an oil well before use.

GPS tracking from the Talos Energy dispatch showed the Seacor Power set off around half past noon and gave its last ping at 3:38 p.m.

One hour later, the energy company first heard the liftboat may have capsized, and logistics manager Michael Boudreaux started making calls to verify.

“I started diverting assets to go that way,” Boudreaux said.

Two vessels near the Seacor Power diverted their assignments and found the wreckage.

After rescuing Steve Lewis, both vessels had to leave due to sea conditions. One boat was so damaged, it lost engines on the way back to port.

“They ended up in the marsh where I had to get them with a tug, I believe three days later,” Boudreaux said. “So at that point, I did everything that I could.”

However, Talos does have a contract with Bristow Helicopters for medical evacuation, and two rescuers testified last week. They said they got word of the disaster from another company, not at five o’clock but closer to seven that night.

When asked by Paul Sterbcrow, the attorney for one of the surviving crewmen of the Seacor Power, if anyone with Talos made a call to Bristow on April 13 to ask for help in response to the ship capsizing, Talos Senior VP John Spath said he did not know.

Boudreaux said it would have been his call.

“To be honest, the day of the event everyone was telling me hurricane-force winds, 10-to-12-foot seas, so my first response or initial thought was search and rescue on the water,” Boudreaux said.

Talos said by the next morning, Coast Guard and Seacor took over every search and rescue effort.

“We offered a lot of services but were told they had it under control,” Spath said.

After the Talos representatives spoke, the American Bureau of Shipping took a deep dive into what regulations liftboats must follow.

It’s part of the hearings’ second purpose to make recommendations that hopefully prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

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