Some people on Florida’s Gulf Coast who went for a stroll along the beach early Wednesday morning were met by an eerie sight: a ghost ship run aground on the shores of St. Andrews State Park.
No, the undead crew of the legendary Flying Dutchman did not decide to make a trip to the bars at the nearby Spring Break hotspot of Panama City. Instead, an empty hopper barge that was being towed by another boat broke loose of its cables and was carried on the waves before being grounded near a rock jetty along the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.
The barge, which was used to transport scrap metal, was empty and did not contain any hazardous materials.
"We know the vessel. It's a normal traffic route for them. They go from New Orleans or Mobile, Alabama, and transfer it to Tampa for scrap metal," Coast Guard spokesman Brian Hanson told MyPanhandle.com.
While the captain of the tugboat who lost the barge wanted to pull the empty boat off the beach on Wednesday, six to seven foot seas from a storm offshore delayed the process until Thursday morning.
"We want to make sure everyone is safe," Hanson said. "That's our main concern, so right now, we're just devising a plan to get the line on and vessel towed out of here as quickly as possible."