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SEACOR power search ends as litigation moves forward

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - A volunteer organization that has been looking for seven missing crewmembers from the SEACOR Power lift boat disaster say their search is officially over. They say they’re now committed to getting money raised for victim’s families.

It has been nearly 100 days since the SEACOR Power lift boat sank during a heavy storm south of Port Fourchon, and a volunteer effort to find seven missing crewmembers is finally over.

“We have searched every marsh, waterway, beach from Fourchon to Holly Beach,” said Chris DeRouen with the group Gulf Coast Humanitarian Effort.

He says they have collected thousands of dollars from people concerned about the victims of the lift boat disaster, and plan to distribute it by the end of the week to the families of the six crew members who were confirmed dead and the seven missing.

“We do have excess funds we think the families can use it right now,” said DeRouen.

As the search effort for the seven missing crewmembers winds down, the legal fight over who bears responsibility for the disaster gears up.

“I don’t want to predict when the trial might be,” said attorney Hugh Lambert

As expected, the SEACOR Power owners have filed a motion to limit their liability to the value of the vessel but Lambert, who represents Yvonne Ledet, the widow of the SEACOR’s captain, says defense attorneys will fight that move.

“That’s something that’s always done in those circumstances, it’s before the federal court here in the Eastern District of Louisiana,” said Lambert.

The NTSB and the Coast Guard are leading the investigation into what went wrong and radio communications the day of the April 13 disaster will be crucial.

“Certainly they have requested all these communications,” said Lambert.

Lambert says until liability limits are settled, all lawsuits filed in Louisiana and Texas are on hold.

The Coast Guard will begin conducting hearings on the SEACOR disaster next month.

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