Seacor Power Update As 12 Missing From Capsized Boat off Louisiana Coast

The search continues for 12 people who have been missing since Seacor Power, a commercial vessel used to service oil rigs, capsized Tuesday amid hurricane force winds off Louisiana's Port Fourchon. One person was found dead on Wednesday and six people have been rescued so far.

Capt. Will Watson, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, said late Wednesday: "Unfortunately one person was recovered deceased on the surface of the water."

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard Heartland said: "The plan is to continue searching today. Weather permitting, we expect divers to arrive at the vessel today to begin their assessment and/or operations in support of the ongoing search and rescue effort."

Rescue crews were reported to have searched an area covering more than 1,440 square miles for nearly 40 hours, according to a statement Wednesday evening from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The Coast Guard recovered one unresponsive person and continues to search for 12 missing people, Wednesday from a capsized commercial lift boat 8 miles south of Port Fourchon," the statement said.

Rescue staff were "saturating the area," Watson said Wednesday, adding that some people could still be trapped on the crippled vessel. "We're giving it everything we have."

The rescue teams included several Coast Guard cutter, helicopter and airplane crews as well as the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries crews, the Port Fourchon Harbor Patrol and volunteer civilian boats.

According to Watson, wind speeds were at about 80 to 90 miles per hour in 7 to 9ft seas at the time of the accident.

On Tuesday, Coast Guard issued "an urgent marine information broadcast" after receiving "an emergency position indicating radio beacon notification at 4:30 p.m. [local time] of a distressed 129-foot commercial lift vessel," the Coast Guard said Tuesday.

Several "good Samaritan boatcrews" responded to the broadcast in addition to Coast Guard crews, who rescued two people on Tuesday. Four others were recovered Tuesday by the civilian crews.

The National Weather Service issued a Special Marine Warning Thursday for the coastal waters from Port Fourchon to the lower region of the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana "out 20 nm [nautical miles] until 9:00 AM CDT," the NWS tweeted Thursday.

A Flash Flood Watch is in place for all of southeastern Louisiana due to potential heavy rainfall through 12 p.m. local time Thursday, the NWS notes.

Seacor Power is a lift boat owned by Seacor Marine, a transportation company based in Houston. The company operates "the industry's largest fleet of modern liftboats reaching elevations of 305 feet and with working depths up to 275 feet," according to its website.

A lift boat, also known as a "jack barge", is often used for offshore construction projects or oil rigs. The boat has extendable 250-foot legs that can reach the sea bottom.

A spokesperson for Seacor Marine told Reuters: "We are deeply saddened by the news of the vessel capsizing and we are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities to support the rescue efforts to locate our valued team members."

Newsweek has contacted Seacor Marine for further comment.

This article has been updated with comment from the U.S. Coast Guard Heartland.

Port Fourchon, Louisiana 2011
Ships docked in Port Fourchon, Louisiana on April 8, 2011. One person was found dead, while 12 people went missing after a commercial lift vessel capsized off Port Fourchon on Tuesday. Mira Oberman/AFP via Getty Images