WASHINGTON D.C. (KLFY) — During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) questioned U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz and requested investigatory actions regarding the Seacor Power tragedy.
Higgins has received many in-depth briefings about the incident, and he has personally scouted the incident site by water and air, but still had questions for the Coast Guard about the incident.
Today’s hearing was intended to focus on diversity and gender identity within the Coast Guard, but Higgins used the opportunity to interview USCG Admiral Schultz about the Seacor Power tragedy.
Higgins’ questions focused on what can be learned from the April tragedy that left six dead and seven still missing. He implored Admiral Schultz to address the Coast Guard’s vessel response plans, as well as the frequency and timeliness of updates for crewmembers’ families in the event of an incident.
One concern of many of my constituents in the State of Louisiana that has not been addressed by this committee or any other committee in the House of Representatives is the Seacor incident that occurred on April 13th of this year.
We must address legitimate questions regarding the Coast Guard’s vessel response plans and concerns of recovery capabilities as well as the frequency and timeliness of updates for the crew members’ families in the event of an incident. I’m not interested in blame. I’m interested in what we can do as a nation to promote marine safety and emergency response by federal assets like the Coast Guard.
Higgins also requested that Admiral Schultz lead a briefing regarding lessons learned from the tragedy, and how Congress can work with the coast Guard to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Admiral Schultz agreed to commit to a briefing, stating that the Seacor Power accident is a complex case that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other involved organizations are working under an established Unified Command to understand.
Congressman Higgins, good morning sir. I echo your sentiments about the tragic confirmed loss of 6 and still 7 missing. Seacor Power was a very difficult, complex case. You have my commitment, sir, for a briefing. Absolutely. We are working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding investigatory occurrences for that situation.
We need to understand what transpired. We are working in a unified command environment right now as they try to recover and right that vessel. That will factor into our understanding of exactly what transpired and how we learn from that. First and foremost, as the nation’s lead federal agency for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship, we absolutely have to understand that, and we have to preclude that from happening again.
Sir, with respect to the families, we worked very closely with NTSB in terms of, you know, kind of timing of their arrival and for not losing sight of the fact that there were families involved with missing loved ones, and they still have unaccounted for missing loved ones.
Sir, I appreciate the emotion involved in this. You have my commitment to learn from this through the investigatory process. We would be absolutely committed to coming and briefing your staff or if that’s in a hearing whatever route that’s deemed appropriate by the committee, sir. We want to inform into that and try to preclude such tragic occurrences from the future