Coast Guard: Capsized lift boat cracking as salvage planned

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The offshore service vessel that capsized in the Gulf of Mexico in a deadly April disaster is cracking and will have to be brought ashore in sections, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

A Coast Guard news release said the Seacor Power had rotated in the spot where it partially sank after capsizing April 13 off Louisiana’s coast. Salvage workers reported signs of cracking and separation of the hull from the superstructure, indicating the vessel’s structural integrity has been compromised, according to the release.

A “lift boat” equipped with legs, the vessel can be lowered to the sea floor to anchor it in place for work on nearby oil and gas facilities. It overturned as it was heading to a job site with 19 people aboard. Only six survived.

Six bodies were recovered from the wreckage or Gulf waters. Seven people are missing and presumed dead.

Family members were briefed on salvage efforts Wednesday by officials with the company that owns the vessel and by the salvage company, Donjon-SMIT.

The Coast Guard said efforts so far have involved removal of debris around the vessel to make room for salvage equipment. Salvage efforts will include the use of a submersible barge that can be maneuvered under larger sections of the vessel, then refloated. The Coast Guard says the largest sections could be removed by the end of June, but that could be delayed by weather or other factors.

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