Topline

The Coast Guard is searching for 12 people who are missing after a commercial ship capsized off the Louisiana coastline during a storm on Tuesday, though weather conditions on Wednesday are still complicating search and rescue efforts as it nears a full day since the Coast Guard first received a distress signal.

Key Facts

Six people have been rescued and one confirmed dead after a vessel called the Seacor Power capsized holding a crew of 19.

The ship sent a distress signal from just south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 4:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, according to the Coast Guard, with four crewmembers being rescued by good Samaritans in the area and the Coast Guard saving two more.

Weather conditions were exceptionally bad when the ship made its distress call: winds were between 80-90 mph and there was “extremely limited visibility,” according to the Coast Guard.

Poor weather conditions continued to make for rough seas Wednesday, complicating the search and rescue efforts by the Coast Guard and local authorities.

Crucial Quote

“My heart and the collective heart of our team goes out to the families,” Coast Guard Capt. Will Watson said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re giving it all we have.”

Big Number

117 mph: That’s the wind speed a ship reportedly recorded as it headed into Port Fourchon on Tuesday—equivalent to winds in a Category 3 hurricane. Watson said Tuesday’s “level of weather was not anticipated,” though the National Weather Service had issued a special marine warning in anticipation of high winds.

What We Don’t Know

It’s not clear what the ship’s mission was or why it headed out over the Gulf in such inclement weather conditions, Watson said.

Key Background

The Seacor Power is a 129-foot long lift boat, which is a type of ship designed to turn into a stationary offshore platform by pushing three massive legs down to the sea floor. The boats are commonly used in the oil and gas industry for moving equipment to and maintaining oil rigs. The Seacor Power had the capacity to carry 40,488 gallons of oil, according to Houston-based Seacor Marine, which owns the vessel.

Further Reading

Coast Guard searches for 12 missing from capsized ship (The Associated Press)

google.com, pub-9941771842583948, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0