A 130-foot barge hauling beach renourishment equipment and a large crane arrived on the shore of Longboat Key this morning, but it wasn’t here to bring sand to the severely eroded north end of the Key.
Casa Del Mar General Manager Mark Meador said he noticed the barge getting close to shore near the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort at 9:30 a.m. today.
“Before I knew it, it was in front of Casa Del Mar,” Meador said. “Yesterday we were looking at a sea turtle on the beach, and today we’re looking at a barge with a huge crane in the Gulf.”
Casa Del Mar guests and beachgoers congregated on the beach as Longboat Key Police and Fire Rescue officials arrived, followed by Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Coast Guard officials.
The barge was unsecured so it could be pulled by a tow boat, but high winds and strong current from a cold front forced the barge onto the beach.
It’s the second barge to run aground in two days on a Manatee County beach. On Tuesday, a 180-foot long barge ran aground along Cortez Beach on Anna Maria Island.
Coast Guard and DEP officials are working to secure the barge, which is expected to be off the shore by 2 p.m.
“It doesn’t take long to move it once it’s secured,” said a DEP Emergency Response official who declined to provide his name. “We’re getting pretty good at this after the barge we had to move yesterday.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].