The United Cajun Navy’s civilian search and rescue fleet is pulling out of efforts to locate seven offshore workers missing since the capsizing of the lift boat Seacor Power last month, the group said in a statement on Sunday that also sought to respond criticism of its operations.
Group chairman Todd Terrell previously said the nonprofit’s resources for the mission would run out at the end of a last push on Friday and Saturday. A written statement from the fleet posted on its Facebook page on Sunday said others planned to continue the search for the missing crew members of the Seacor Power and wished them luck.
The statement, coupled with a series of videos posted by research volunteer Ronnie Adams of the “Swamp People” TV show, indicates that the United Cajun Navy may not be parting ways on good terms with those hoping to find the missing crew members.
The statement cites “rumors” centered on unpaid bills for seaplanes and fuel used in search efforts following the capsizing of the Seacor Power on April 13 in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in the confirmed deaths of six members. crew and the rescue of half a dozen. other.
After nearly three weeks, the United Cajun Navy suspended its search for the seven missing crew members on board the Seacor Power, and…
“The rumors… are completely false,” the statement read. The group said it had raised funds to fund research efforts and that whatever was left would be put into a special account directly benefiting the families of the victims.
“We will be posting a detailed statement of up-to-date payments that are intended for research efforts as well as payments made to families of Seacor crew members,” the group added. “If anyone has any receipts for Seacor research or feels they should be refunded, please message us or post in the comments” below the statement.
Meanwhile, in Facebook videos posted on Saturday, Adams sought to distance himself from both the United Cajun Navy and Terrell.
Adams explained in one of the videos that he received around $ 3,800 from Terrell. He added that he had spent $ 1,300 on fuel for vehicles assisting in the search; had returned $ 1,100; and intended to use the remaining $ 1,400 to refuel research vehicles.
In another video, which mainly showed the missing Seacor crew father, Dylan Daspit, at a search volunteer briefing on Saturday, Adams stood up and said, “I … (am)” not affiliated with the United Cajun Navy. Dirty stuff is going on.
Adams went on to explain that he was involved in a volunteer search effort because he had “taught and trained” Chaz Morales, one of the missing Seacor Power crew members. He said he was moved by the experience of meeting Daspit’s father, Scott, last week. And Adams called on owners of waterboats – especially airboats – to continue helping volunteer search efforts, saying he and Daspit’s father still had money to provide fuel.
“Have they ever started to blame the captain?” asked the former captain that they started to blame 32 years ago.
“It’s about those families, the closure and finding these crew members,” Adams said.
The 234-foot Seacor Power rolled over as it headed from Port Fourchon to an oil rig in Talos east of Venice. The oil services vessel headed for an area that forecasters would experience tropical storm force winds and dangerous waves. But the hurricane-caliber winds and destructive wave action the Seacor Power eventually encountered were much stronger than expected.
Although six of the 19 crew on board were rescued after the capsize of the Seacor Power 8 miles south of Port Fourchon, another half-dozen have since been found dead: Captain David Ledet, Ernest Williams, Anthony Hartford , James “Tracy” Wallingsford, Lawrence Warren and Quinon Pitre.
Besides Daspit and Morales, those missing on Sunday were Jay Guevara, Gregory Walcott, Jason Krell, Darren Encalade and Cooper Rozands.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended efforts to locate the missing crew members on April 19. Volunteer search teams, including the United Cajun Navy, as well as regional police departments and private divers hired by the owner of the Seacor Power, continued to search by air, land and sea. Those efforts had extended as far west as Corpus Christi, Texas, by the end of last week.
Some families of the dead or missing crew members have since sued the ship’s owner, Seacor Marine, and Talos Energy for damages. These cases were pending Sunday.
The US Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigation into Seacor Power also continued.
The widow of the captain of Seacor Power accuses the owner of the lifting boat of having ordered her husband and his crew to sail in stormy conditions before…