Last Updated: Thursday, 7:48 a.m.
At first it looked like an oil rig to Flagler Beach residents Linda and Thomas Hagman, as it did to many others who saw the platform travel from the north end of Flagler Beach to the south end, around South 10th Street, and essentially drop anchor there at sundown.
“It was moving at a clip,” Linda Hagman said, “then it stopped, turned on all its lights, then it lifted itself off the water.”
Flagler Beach City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur had spotted its three pylons north of the pier at 6 p.m. and thought it odd.
The platform is a liftboat, a self-propelled, self-elevating deck barge used to service oil and gas rigs, for seismographic work and construction, but usually in the Gulf of Mexico. EBI Liftboats pioneering the platforms in the 1950s, but an EBI official tonight said the platform does not belong to the company, and said there were about 20 such companies. Another EBI official said liftboats may travel 12 hours in a day, but must then stop and pick up the following day, suggesting that the platform was in transit. The Coast Guard could not be reached tonight.
By Thursday morning, the identity of the liftboat was solved: it is, according to Marine Traffic, the GPS-enabled mapping utility, the Lacie G. Eymard, a 128-foot-long, 132-ton liftboat built in 2014 and belonging to Offshore Marine Contractors of Cutoff, La. Marine Traffic pegs its destination as “Fernandino,” but likely means Fernandina Beach. Since March 1, the boat has been hugging the shore from just north of Jacksonville Beach to its present location.
What is certain, Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom said, is that there’s no oil drilling, exploration or any such related work going on offshore. Eric Cooley, owner of the 7-11 in Flagler Beach, had sent Newsom images of the platform, which at first looked to Newsom like a “mobile oil rig.” Newsom was not aware of any dredging operation locally, and emergency repair work on the Flagler Beach pier has not yet begun.
“Bottom line is,” Newsom said, “you couldn’t do anything subsurface without permits.”
The sun had already set by the time the platform settled in for the night, its identity to distant to make out. (As with planes’ N-numbers, vessels can be identified through identification marks on their hull.)
Bob Pickering of Flagler County Emergency Management said he recalls a similar platform appearing in the 1990s offshore.It looked like a mini oil rig, like a barge up on stilts,” he said, but while he was able to identify it as a liftboat, he was not able to determine its purpose.
Atlantic waters are currently under a five-year moratorium on drilling, but that moratorium expires this year.
“It just gets people out here up in a stir,” Newsom said Thursday morning, the purpose of the boat still unclear. “One thing I can say is it’s not for the pier project.” Emergency repair work on the pier began Wednesday.
USA Lover says
Flagler Beach people are a hoot. It’s none of their business what that craft is doing out there.
OK here we go, I’ll start. It must be Trump’s Fault. Let the radical and liberal Leftest carry it…
DRedder and USA Lover, both of you should swim out and get on that boat. Of course this beach town and it’s inhabitants should be concerned or at the very least, curious. And just what about this is political? Think of something intelligent to say next time please.
Name of craft is LACIE G EYMARD on it’s way to Fernandino Beach FL.
I’m a thousand miles away and know that’s the pier rescue team ! 1 million dollars later
It would seem to me that it would be their, our business seeing as this is the town we live in and being a little curious on what goes on in the waters that are right in front of us doesn’t seem to be an odd thing. Sort of a dick comment you made there, thought it deserved a reply back.
Concerned Citizen says
Let’s put a monstrosity in back yard after we voted no offshore obstructions. It is 100% our business.
I’ll help DRedder, if there is oil out there, there might be some inland maybe we should by the mineral rights to our land just in case. Hell my neighborhood is starting to suck more and more everyday after 30 years here I’ll do a Jed Clampett except I sure ain’t going to California.
Why are Flagler people a hoot? Because we are curious of why this boat is in the water right in front of us, never seeing anything like it before. I would say it sort of is our business seeing as this is the town we live in.
One, it is people’s business what it is doing out there, and two, no room for politics in the issue.
Nope it must be Bush’s fault😂😂😂
Dee wynne says
Really? We think we have the absolute right to know what’s on the craft 50 ft from our shore line
And if it’s a reconassaince oil rig device we need to know. We are not amused USA lover – you probably own it. How dare you say we’re a hoot like this is a joke yes we can’t wait to get another BP oil rig catastrophe
Right here in our front yard.
The Local Bible Thumpers fear that it might be placement of the World’s First Offshoore Menorah!
Russian liftboat comrades!
It is when you give a shit about the environment.
What kind of nincompoop says “it’s none of their business” when a craft like this appears. People want to know if in some way it might present a threat to safety or the environment. This one probably doesn’t threaten anything and may be in transit, but people in shore towns do have good reasons to know what’s happening in their vicinity. An exception might be a military craft on an undercover mission, but absent that, knowing the facts is a good thing.
Norm Mugford says
“The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!”
Rick Belhumeur says
Going to build a new pirate radio station for Melissa Holland
Trump is building his wall, just got the location wrong!
Flagler Beach Resident says
Well, yeah we don’t really want oil being drilled just off of our shore…
Richard Smith says
Yup…..LOL…..Trump has secretly called for finding oil off the coast of Flagler Beach. But if asked he will lie about it and say it’s Putin’s fault. ROTF.
It’s the Russians working for Trump!
Remember we had some explosion noises several months ago? and it was dismissed but later admitted off shore. Well the moratorium expire this year for drilling in the Atlantic waters???….explain the reason for this vessel? and why the coast guard could Not be reached??? for comment
david sheehy says
UN real…Come on you North wanna be south ones.I was the 3rd house built in 1970 I had to sell my last house in 88..Like a mini NY movemment.live in Flagler Beach.being ruined like people like you! Let things be!Don’t be so nosey.Lets keep my beach clean,fix the pier.and bust litter bugs on our beach..I’d hate to see if a UFO landed on the water..And leave the nice rocks that people have built ,looks nice😁
they are looking for treasure
Be prepared that they sell and contaminate our Atlantic Coast cheap to benefit the greed of former Oil Tycoon Tillerson and Trump buddies and keep on hiding facts and lying to us all the way from Tallahassee to Washington DC…
Boot Sessions too for lying and treason now over Russia spying and association.
Of course it’s our business! It’s our town, our beach, we raise our kids here.
I wish people would mind their own people.
Flagler Lady says
So many silly folks get all riled up and off the track and then there are the people with their incorrect information and the ones who just have to reply whether or not they know what they’re talking about and the people who just try to be funny. Of course it is the business of concerned Flagler’s citizens.
Flagler Beach residents doing what they do best, make up world ending stories and just getting their panties in a bind over nothing.
It’s a NASA launch pad for Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Maxine Waters.
Mind ur buisness nosey people
Ken Dodge says
“Arrival”, the maritime edition.
Richard Smith says
@ Brian – you are a hoot! I love it……
NO oil drilling, NO oil craft, NO sonar imaging here either. GET AWAY FROM FLORIDA! There are enough dead wales washing up on shore all along the Gulf and California, where the military and oil corps blast sonar to test or find oil. This craft should be confisticated here in Florida and the owners made to pay hefty fines.
Chris Brumbaugh says
Wasn’t that being repaired in St Augustine?
I thought I saw that by the Bridge of the Lions several weeks ago
@ Brian – do you mean the three stooges? Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Maxine Waters.
It’s a stage for little hands hitler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mermaid girl says
I’m looking for a place to rest my fins, where can I find this object and are there any men onboard?
Could be used to lift up a sunken narco sub and place it on a barge. I saw CBP running a shallow water search pattern in the area recently.