My wife and I vacationed in Cape Canaveral in November 2010, staying in a large condominium on the ocean front. As part of my daily routine – trying to unwind from a year’s worth of stress – I would walk on the beach early each morning.
When I went to the beach on the morning of November 29th, I was shocked to see a massive cargo barge aground on the beach directly in front of our condominium. On further inspection, it was the Mobro 1210, a 144-foot uninspected cargo barge owned and operated Beyel Brothers Crane & Rigging Services of Cocoa Beach, Florida.
I later read in the Professional Mariner magazine (March 2011 Edition) that the Mobro 1210 was carrying spent shell casings from torpedo munitions and other U.S. Navy cargo when she separated from the tug boat Megan Beyel at 1:40 am on November 29, 2010, near the entrance to Port Canaveral. Apparently, the Mobro 1210 broke free roughly a quarter mile from the jetties marking the entrance to Port Canaveral. According to a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, winds were gusting as high as 25 mph, and a weather buoy reported 4-foot seas shortly before the incident. The Megan Beyel and the Mobro 1210 were chartered through the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. MSC operates noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that, among others, support U.S. Navy ships and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.
In any event, I finished my walk after I and other spectators gathered on the beach to witness the surreal site. When I returned to the beach after lunch that day (around 2:00 pm), the barge was gone, having been refloated.
As a maritime lawyer on vacation, I was surprised to witness a maritime casualty which thankfully caused no damage to person, property or the environment.