Crewman lost in Gulf of Mexico

March 17. While attempting to transfer personnel to either the Western Monarch or Western Neptune from the Geco Snapper using their small work boat / FRC, something went wrong and the small boat capsized dumping the personnel. All but one were immediately rescued by the Western Monarch’s FRC. The USCG, Cougar Rescue, the rest of the siesmic fleet working with the Western Monarch and others have been searching since yesterday but haven’t found the missing crewman. This was approx 30 nm south of Southwest Pass.

Isn’t GECO Snapper a Chouest vessel?

It is operated by Chouest and has been on charter with Western Geco for quite a while.

This link has part of the story. They are wrong about the Geco Snapper being 68 ft. I think it should have read 68 meters.

Anyone know what the sea conditons were like when this happened?

A quick look suggests that the winds were from the North to Northeast ranging from 10 knots on up to 24kts on Tuesday morning 17th.

No word on what happened? I would guess this person suffered from hypothermia and died. Would an exposure suit have saved this person? Who knows? Maybe something else caused this poor person’s death. But as long as exposure suits and immersion suits are not required on GOM vessels one was to wonder just how serious these companies really are about “safety”. From the decks of rigs in the winter I have watched anchor crews on the anchor boats standing within feet of the stern and certain death should they be washed over wearing nothing more than a “work vest”. The USCG will write you a ticket for not having a life vest on your bass boat in the middle of summer if all you have are “work vests” on board, so they obviously don’t think work vests have much value.

There was no hypothermia. The other crewmen were rescued a few minutes after the incident. The people in the water seen him come up and go down. They where inflatable life vests. Hearsay has it that his was not inflated. I beleive it was a severe capsize so he was probably injured and maybe even the life vest was torn up.

Inflatable vests? Were no normal life saving vests available or mandatory? The investigation report, if there is one, should tell us more.

Maybe I should have specified inflatable “work vests”. These are common outside the GOM and are preferred by companies who can to spend the money. This seismic crew, being the size it is, probably has as many as 20 small boat operations in a normal week for cable work and small supply transfers in between ships (not necsasarily personnel transfers), which I’m sure will be curtailed after this incident. They usually have all their training done to North Sea standards and they stick to them, except of course the immersion suits while operating in the GOM. Regular foam work vests weren’t allowed on the boat I worked on in the North Sea.

Some facts form a little bird.
The Able seaman could not swim,
He was pulled under the hull and last seen in the prop wash behind the boat, for only an instant and then nothing. The Type of pfd would not have mattered.
The man had a family.

OK. Got it. I’m familiar with those vests and they’re normally pretty good vests, tough also.