The US Coast Guard and Seacor Marine has confirmed that salvage crews have begun removing debris from the seafloor around the sunken liftboat Seacor Power in preparation for the eventual raising of some sections of the vessel to the surface.
The liftboat remains in the same location where it sank on April 13, 2021, but has rotated, and salvors report 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 will allow it to be submerged and manoeuvred under the larger sections of the liftboat. 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.
The coast guard said this method 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.
The coast guard expects removal of the largest sections to be completed by the end of June. However, 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 (609-metre) 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 is continuing to monitor for any oil discharges.
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