maritime history

The two men responsible for stealing a gold bar from a Key West treasure museum were sentenced Monday at the federal courthouse in Key West.

Richard Johnson received five years and three months in federal prison, while Jarred Goldman was ordered to serve three years and four months.

Hurricane Irma moved a lot of things around underwater off the Florida coast. And the storm has revealed new evidence of an old shipwreck off the Florida Keys.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

The Key West case of the stolen gold bar has ended with two convictions but with only a sliver of the treasure recovered.

Jarred Goldman acted as the lookout while his cohort stole a 16th century gold bar from its case at a Key West museum in 2010, a federal jury decided Wednesday evening.

He is due in court for sentencing July 23 when he faces up to 15 years in prison for the heist that stunned the Southernmost City and robbed a museum of a treasure valued at $550,000.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Eight years after it was stolen from a Key West treasure museum — and almost 400 years after it sank to the bottom of the ocean — a gold bar is at the center of a federal trial that began Tuesday in Key West.

National Transportation Safety Board via AP, File

Two years to the day after the American cargo ship the SS El Faro sank in a major hurricane off the Bahamas, killing all 33 people on board, U.S. Coast Guard investigators in Jacksonville made public their assessment of the disaster and called for widespread institutional reforms. 

Mark Hedden

Key West's Navy presence is more in the air than on the sea. But the Navy still has a pier on the island's waterfront and Navy ships sometimes pull in there.

Monroe County Public Library

  The Schooner Western Union was built in Key West in the late 1930s as a cable tender — a repair ship for telegraph lines.

Now the 92-foot wooden boat is owned by a nonprofit. Most recently, it's been used for sunset sails and wedding charters.

But it needs repair. And the state of Florida just agreed to spend $500,000 to fix it up.

  The Western Union is the official flagship of the state of Florida (and the city of Key West).

Monroe County Public Library

Update: June 18, 3:39 p.m.: The Key West City Commission this week approved the $250,000 commitment toward repairs for the Schooner Western Union.

That commitment clears the way for the nonprofit that owns the historic schooner to apply for a state grant that would match the city's money 2-to-1.

New Mission for Keys' Reef Lights: Historical Guideposts

Nov 26, 2014
Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

The reef lights along the Florida Keys are still owned by the U.S. Coast Guard -- but a nonprofit group hopes to take over their care and make them a 100-mile long museum of maritime history.

The Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation is raising money to apply to the Coast Guard for ownership of five lights stretching from Carysfort Reef off Key Largo to Sand Key off Key West. The others are Alligator Reef off Islamorada, Sombrero Reef off Marathon and American Shoal off the Lower Keys.