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2 Louisiana oil spill workers die when their work boat capsizes

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson announced on Jan. 19 that they had suspended their search for two workers who went missing after the boat that they had been working on capsized on Jan. 16.

The female and male workers were reportedly on the boat nearby Mile 18 of the Mississippi River near the Louisiana town of Boothville on the morning of Jan. 16 when, for some unknown reason, their 32-foot workboat began sinking.

Although the incident was reported to the Coast Guard and their New Orleans-based crew quickly arrived at the scene with their MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter, they were unable to locate the pair. A flight crew with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office wasn’t able to find them either.

The Coast Guard, the sheriff’s office, Branch Pilots and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries boats were all deployed to the area and where the pair had last been seen, but they all came up empty handed as well.

In the end, the parties spent 27 hours looking for the workers in a search that spanned 130 square nautical miles.

Before ending their search, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard outlined how they’d worked tirelessly to locate the victims before offering their condolences to the families of the MSRC workers. They noted that the sheriff’s office would be taking over the search.

A sonar scan helped rescue crews locate the capsized boat last Thursday, but poor visibility has limited their ability to rig the vessel so it can be lifted out of the water. Crews planned to continue working to gain access to the boat in hopes of recovering the workers’ bodies the following day if they’re there.

When workers are injured at sea, in many cases the ship’s owner is responsible for covering the cost of their medical bills or lost wages, even if the seaman’s own negligence resulted in them getting hurt. The amount of time that you have to file an injury or wrongful death claim depends on your job role and what law that you’re protected by.

An admiralty and maritime law attorney can help you sort out which one that you’re covered under and advise you of your rights to file suit.