Regina Sugar Barge - Bradenton Beach, FL
Posted by: lazyCachers
N 27° 28.184 W 082° 42.071
17R E 331909 N 3039615
Quick Description: Located in the Gulf of Mexico about 75 yards off shore of Bradenton Beach, Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 9/11/2008 4:21:35 PM
Waymark Code: WM4NFG
Regina was a steel steamer built in 1904 in Belfast, Ireland, by the Workman, Clark & Co. shipyard for the Cuban Molasses Transportation Co., based in Havana. She was 247 ft. in length, with a 36 ft. beam, a 14 ft. draft, and was rated at 1,155 gross tons with a net tonnage of 669. Designed with a single deck and a single propeller powered by a triple-expansion steam engine producing 850 hp., the steamer also was rigged as a schooner for auxiliary power, and fitted with electric lighting.
Regina joined a growing fleet of large and small tankers carrying a specific liquid cargo: molasses. Shipped from several locations in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico to ports on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, molasses was used primarily by rum distilleries, and also by animal feed manufacturers. New Orleans was a principal port of the world’s molasses trade; cargoes were transferred to river barges for distribution inland to feed producers in the Midwest. Compared with other liquid cargoes carried by tankers at sea, such as oil, chemicals, or fresh water, molasses is much heavier. In cold weather it thickens, becoming difficult to pump during transfer and requiring a longer time in port. Various tank-heating methods were used to make the cargo more fluid and easier to pump.
Converted to a tanker barge, Regina left Havana on March 5, 1940, under tow by the tugboat Minima, bound for New Orleans with a cargo of more than 300,000 gallons of molasses. Two days later, a cold front swept across the Gulf of Mexico from the northwest, accompanied by 8 to 12-foot seas, gale force winds, and freezing temperatures. The tugboat altered course toward the shelter of Tampa Bay, but before she could reach safety, her tow lines parted near Egmont Key and Regina drifted helplessly toward Anna Maria Island. In the late afternoon on Friday, March 8, the converted tanker grounded in heavy seas on a sand bar off Bradenton Beach. Pounded by the surf and wind, the vessel began to crack and break apart as nighttime approached. Regina’s crew of eight stayed aboard the stranded tanker, afraid to abandon ship in such turbulent conditions. As word of the disaster spread, local residents gathered on the darkened beach, where they built fires to reassure the crewmen that they had been seen.
Information taken from this site
Image taken from Sea Trek Divers website