WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLFY) — U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is calling for a congressional hearing into the U.S. Coast Guard’s and NOAA’s responses to the Seacor Power disaster.
Kennedy sent a letter to congressional leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security earlier today.
Download and read Kennedy’s letter below:
In the letter, Kennedy said the reactions by the Coast Guard and NOAA during search and rescue operations “warrant the immediate attention and proper oversight of the U.S. Senate.”
Kennedy said communications between the vessel operator and the crewmembers’ families was “all too infrequent during search and rescue operations and that Congress must close gaps in existing vessel response plan regulations.” He said details on the response deserve to be heard on the record in a congresssional setting.
Kennedy stated testimony from the owner of the Seacor Power — Seacor Marine — will help clarify why the vessel was traveling through such severe weather in the first place.
“We must ensure the federal response was timely and adequate,” said the senator. “While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating this event, their full report likely won’t be ready until late next year. There is an urgent need for clairty as loved ones of the lost crewmembers desperately seek answers.”
Kennedy called the Seacor Power disaster the worst to strike the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010.
Following the SEACOR Power tragedy, Kennedy introduced the Vessel Response Plan Improvement Act, which would require commercial vessels to provide timely notifications to the crew’s family members throughout search and rescue operations.