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Coast Guard, SEACOR update salvage operations of collapsed lift boat

FILE- In this April 18, 2021, file photo, the capsized lift boat Seacor Power is seen seven...
FILE- In this April 18, 2021, file photo, the capsized lift boat Seacor Power is seen seven miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.(Gerald Herbert | AP)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 11:45 AM CDT
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HOUMA, La. (WVUE) - Coast Guard and officials with SEACOR Marine updated family members of the crew on the status of salvage operations of the SEACOR Power lift boat during a meeting in Houma Wednesday.

Family members were provided with information from SEACOR and the contracted Donjon-SMIT salvage team on efforts to remove the vessel and what the potential timeline for that process is expected to be.

Throughout the last week, contracted salvage crews have been removing obstructions from the seafloor around the partially sunken lift boat. Removal of the debris will make room for the equipment needed to raise vessel sections to the surface.

The SEACOR Power remains in the same location where it sank but has rotated, and crews reported cracking and separation of the hull from the superstructure.

The separation indicates that the structural integrity of the vessel is compromised. As a result, the vessel will have to be raised to the surface and brought to shore in separate sections.

The salvage team is outfitting a barge with a pump system that allows it to be submerged and maneuvered under the larger sections of the vessel.

Once in place, water is pumped out of the barge and it is refloated with the larger sections already on board in conjunction with assistance from a crane barge on the surface.

This will preserve the structural integrity of the recovered section.

Safety netting will be placed around the openings of each section as it is raised and transported.

Removal of the largest sections is expected to be complete by the end of June, but the timeline depends on many factors including the safety of salvage crews, the weather, and any new structural changes that may occur.

SEACOR assets will remain in the area until the end of July to recover any remaining debris from the sea floor.

The Coast Guard safety zone extending one nautical mile around the site and the Federal Aviation Administration temporary flight restriction covering a five nautical mile radius around the site and 2,000-foot minimum altitude will remain in place until salvage operations are complete.

These restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of divers and salvage crews working at the site as well as boaters who could place themselves in danger by transiting through an active work site where debris and other underwater obstructions such as anchor wires, mooring ropes and navigational buoys may be present.

The Coast Guard continues to monitor for any oil discharges, and SEACOR Marine has an Oil Spill Response Organization standing by to respond to any situation in which there is recoverable oil.

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