Sen. Kennedy urges federal action, sheriff’s office now assisting in Seacor search

Some families have filed lawsuits against Seacor Marine.
Some families have filed lawsuits against Seacor Marine.(Todd Terrell / United Cajun Navy / WVUE)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 2:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The search for the remaining Seacor Power crewmembers is going strong.

On Thursday, the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says it will be assisting volunteer search and rescue efforts organized by the United Cajun Navy.

Volunteer rescue boats and seaplanes, fueled by donations, are searching a large area south of Cocodrie, La., where Seacor Power lifejackets and helmets washed up.

The sheriff’s office is the first government organization to assist the volunteers since the Coast Guard suspended its search on April 19.

On Wednesday, Senator John Kennedy urged the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to relax regulations keeping shrimp boats from using trawling nets to potentially find the seven crewmembers still missing.

According to NOAA, shrimp fishermen cannot use nets with tied Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) for targeted recovery operations. Fishermen must remove the devices and find replacements, which Kennedy says will waste more time and cost more money.

“We simply do not have time for bureaucracy—the value of these crewmen and their grieving families demand that we prioritize their recovery above all else,” Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy asked the acting administrator of NOAA, Benjamin Friedman, to waive regulations related to TEDs and “permit Louisiana recovery volunteers to temporarily employ nets with tied TEDs.”

“I also ask that you immediately review any other regulations that may still be hampering recovery efforts so that we can exhaust any and all solutions that would help us recover these seven missing crewmen,” he concluded.

You can read his full letter to NOAA here.

“If Tom Cruise or a politician were out in the Gulf, the powers that be would move heaven and earth to bring them home,” Kennedy wrote on Facebook. “Well, we’re talking about something more important—Louisiana sons. The families of the Seacor Power crew have suffered deeply, and I’m urging the Biden admin to get rid of the red tape around recovery efforts for good.”

The Coast Guard has turned its attention towards recovering the vessel.

On April 23, Coast Guard Marine Inspectors went through the Seacor Eagle lift vessel for its use in removing the Seacor Power.

On April 27, officials expanded the safety zone around the capsized craft and established a 2,000-foot no-fly zone. Authorities say removal is in the planning stage and there is no timetable.

Swamp People’s Ronnie Adams goes live on his Facebook page nearly every day with updates. You can also follow the United Cajun Navy on Facebook for updates.

Some families have filed lawsuits against Seacor Marine.

Seacor Marine announced changes to its board of directors on April 28. Directors Charles Fabrikant and Robert D. Abendschein will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual stockholders meeting in June.

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