UPDATE: DeRouen is now saying shrimpers can assist in the search more easily. He said the director of Homeland Security and the director of NOAA need vessel names and vessel ID information to give us permission to just tie turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and not modify nets.
ORIGINAL STORY: PORT FOURCHON, La. (KLFY) — The search for the missing crew of the Seacor Power is now mostly in the hands of volunteers. Of the 19 men aboard April 13, six were saved, six have been found dead, and seven remain missing.
The United Cajun Navy is sending an urgent message to all shrimp boats. Help is needed to find the missing crew of the Seacor Power and bring them home. Boats are currently searching as far as Delcambre to Belle Chasse, and the search will expand as needed.
“We’re flying over. They can only get so low. They’re trying to cover as much area, get a big enough picture, right, but it’s not intimate.
It’s not close, but by boat it’s intimate. You can get close,” explained Christifer DeRouen, United Cajun Navy Shrimp Boat Coordinator.
For days the United Cajun Navy has been searching by air, and now they are searching by sea. DeRouen shared a few proud shrimp boats and counting are lowering their nets and trawling the gulf floor not for fish but men.
“It’s hard for me to say that I hope under those circumstances because it’s grim, but at some point in this I’m fighting for these people one way or another to find closure,” DeRouen said.
A trawl is basically a large netted sock with a weight at the end for capturing large catches at once. For this search, every turtle excluder device is being removed so that if a man is caught, he won’t slip out.
United Cajun Navy President Todd Terrell explained, “As a shrimper, it’s risky because you’re risking getting debris caught in your nets, and ruining your nets,
so these shrimpers have really got to have it in their heart to really want to help.”
As willing as some are, the recovery operation is getting pushback from federal regulations. Only certain boats with certain permits and classifications are being allowed to join the search. DeRouen’s been told the best way to cut through the red tape is to get Louisiana Congressman involved.
“If you want to help, bombard them with calls,” DeRouen encouraged.
If you don’t have a shrimp boat, don’t worry. You can donate funds to keep the seaplanes fueled. DeRouen has also shared ways to give to an individual family.