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1 dead, 12 missing after ship capsizes off southern US coast

Washington – One person died and 12 were missing after a commercial lift vessel capsized in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, the US Coast Guard said yesterday.

Coast Guard ships and a fleet of volunteer vessels were deployed to search for survivors after the Seacor Power capsized Tuesday in an unexpectedly strong storm near Port Fourchon, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of New Orleans.

Coast Guard Captain Will Watson said he received a distress call from the ship just before 4.30pm Tuesday.

“We have rescued six survivors” of the crew of 19, Watson said at a press conference. Initially the Coast Guard said the ship had a crew of 18.

The body of a seventh person was found and pulled from the ocean, Watson said.

“The search effort continues for the remaining 12,” he said. “We are saturating the area with available resources to assist in the rescue mission.”

The Seacor Power was a 129-foot (39.3 metres) commercial lift vessel, the Coast Guard said.

A lift vessel is a barge with a large flat deck and giant legs attached to it. They are commonly used in offshore oil and gas operations.

While travelling, lift vessels carry their legs in the air, and upon reaching their destination the legs are pushed to the ocean floor and the flat deck is raised from the water. ― AFP

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