New Year's Eve Pirate Ship Runs Aground with Passengers in Tampa Bay, Flickr: Gordon Tarpley

Gasparilla 2011


No, the pirates are not really reveling with bottles of rum and parrots in the area of Tampa, nor is Johnny Depp filming a sequel to the Pirates of the Caribbean in the Sunshine State.

On Saturday night (New Year’s Eve), a Pirate-themed cruise ship unfortunately encountered heavy fog and ran aground, carrying around 100 passengers. The ship, called the Pirates’ Ransom became stuck, and fortunately no passengers were injured.

The ship was cruising along the Intercoastal Waterway near the Memorial Causeway Bridge, according to an article on It became stuck because of the over zealous fog. Another cruise vessel, the “Island Times” attempted to rescue the passengers and take them to the shore safely but it also ran aground.

The Pirate’s Ransom is run by Captain Memo’s “The Original Pirate Cruise” and is based out of Clearwater Beach. The cost for the New Year’s Eve party was $50 per adult and $30 per child. All adults and children made it safely back ashore and the rescue was completed at 10:00 p.m. Unfortunately the passengers had to spend New Year’s Eve on shore.

Tampa is somewhat known for its pirate festivals. One such event, the “Gasparilla Pirate Festival” is an annual celebration held in Tampa each year in late January. This year, it will be held on January 28th and people with flights to Tampa can climb aboard the tall-masted Jose Gasparilla pirate ship with cannons booming and flags fully unfurled. Visitors can also enjoy a full brunch. Tickets range from $70 and can be purchased online at


Photo: Gordon Tarpley

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