FL beachgoers got a big surprise Wednesday morning when a barge was found washed ashore on a beach in Panama City, Florida.
The U.S. Coast Guard went to the scene at St. Andrews State Park, where they found the barge vessel resting against the shore after a night of stormy weather, according to the Panama City News Herald. The USCG said the barge broke free from its cables while it was being towed by another ship.
The barge, which is used to carry scrap metal, is empty and poses no environmental threat, its owners told WJHG.com.
“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.
Because of the rough seas, Panama City beaches were closed Wednesday and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office removed surfers from the water because they were too close to the barge, WJHG.com also said.
“We want to make sure everyone is safe,” Hanson told MyPanhandle.com “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.”
The USCG told the News Herald the owners of the barge were expected to retrieve it later Wednesday, but images posted to social media Thursday morning showed the barge still parked against the shoreline. MyPanhandle.com said rough seas prevented the tow, and the operator was expected to try again Thursday.