Search for Survivors of Capsized Ship Ends

The U.S. Coast Guard in Louisiana announced late Monday it had suspended the search and rescue operation for eight people still missing from a commercial lift ship that capsized in a violent storm off the coast one week ago.  
Last Tuesday, the Seacor Power capsized about 20 kilometers off the coast with 19 people on board in water about 15 meters deep. A Coast Guard ship and so-called “good Samaritan” vessels in the area that responded to the ship’s distress call that day rescued six people. A body was also recovered from the Gulf of Mexico.
Since that time, four other bodies were recovered.
At a news conference in New Orleans Monday, Coast Guard Sector Commander Captain Will Watson told reporters that boat and aircrews, along with local agency crews and volunteers, searched for a cumulative 175 hours, covering more than 31,555 square kilometers.
Officials with the company that owns the boat, Seacor Marine, vowed Monday that they would do everything in their power to find the remaining people.
Company President John Gellert told reporters Monday 17 divers were on site, and they were about halfway through the vessel as of midday Monday. Gellert also said that divers from a company that Seacor contracts with were on the scene four hours after the ship capsized.
Gellert said there are questions about what exactly caused the ship to capsize. He said weather warnings were issued for April 13 but what the ship actually encountered when it was offshore was significantly worse than expected.
The Coast Guard reported winds that day gusting between 128 and 144 kilometers per hour.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating what caused the incident but its report may not be completed for as long as two years.
The craft is what is known as a lift ship, a self-propelled commercial vessel with an open deck that is deployed to carry heavy equipment, often to support drilling or exploration. It can float freely or deploy “legs” to secure itself to the bottom of the ocean.

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