PORT FOURCHON, La. – Families anxiously awaited news of the 12 people missing from a capsized oil industry vessel Thursday while divers searching for survivors knocked on the ship's hull without response.
Rescuers don’t know whether any of the missing might be caught inside the lift boat called the Seacor Power that flipped over Tuesday in hurricane-force winds and high seas about 8 miles (13 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana, Coast Guard spokesmen said.
“There is the potential they are still there, but we don’t know,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally said Thursday. “We’re still searching for 12 people because there are 12 still missing.”
The Coast Guard said on Twitter that divers were able to conduct operations Thursday but didn't hear anything when they knocked on the ship's hull. The Guard said dive operations were over and would resume Friday. They will continue to search overnight by air and sea.
A handful of the missing workers' family gathered at a two-story fire station at Port Fourchon, a sprawling port where much of the industry that services the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico is based.
Workers from across Louisiana and other parts of the country arrive at the port to load up on the fleet of helicopters and ships that take them to the oil rigs miles out for long stretches of work. The flat landscape is punctuated by cranes where cargo can be loaded or unloaded and docks or hangers to make repairs.
In a nearby harbor, shrimping boats were docked, and fishing camps stood raised on stilts to protect them from incoming storms.
Marion Cuyler, who is engaged to crane operator Chaz Morales, spoke to reporters Thursday outside the fire station after briefings by executives with boat owner Seacor and the Coast Guard. She said she believes all 12 missing people are on the vessel.