The dense sea fog that's hung around offshore since Monday continues to cause problems for local ports.
However, a break is finally in sight for 2,500 cruise ship passengers - including members of the Ohio State University football team - who've been going in circles in Tampa Bay for the last day and a half.
The Ports of Tampa and St. Petersburg were closed Monday and Tuesday due to inclement weather conditions and low visibility. While a dense fog advisory was allowed to expire at 10 a.m. Tuesday and a marine dense fog advisory was canceled at 2:30 p.m., the ports remain closed.
“The Coast Guard’s primary concern at all times is the safety of the recreational and commercial boating public,” Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Pankey said in a press release. “We are implementing the port closure out of an abundance of caution to eliminate the risk of a possible accident occurring within the affected areas. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we truly appreciate the public’s patience during this situation.”
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Brilliance of the Seas, was supposed to come into the port of Tampa Monday, but has been stuck just offshore. One passenger, former Ohio State football player and current sports talk show host Dustin Fox, posted a picture on Instagram of the circular path the ship's been on during that time.
A trio of Coast Guard ships accompanied the Brilliance of the Seas as it entered Tampa Bay Tuesday afternoon. It's expected to dock shortly.
Members of Ohio State University's national championship football team, including coach Urban Meyer, along with a number of fans, are aboard the ship on a "Buckeye Cruise for Cancer."
Tuesday afternoon, Royal Caribbean canceled this week's scheduled cruise on the Brilliance. It had been set to leave port Monday night.
Cruisers are being given full refunds, as well as a future cruise certificate for 25 percent of what they paid for the canceled cruise.
Still, some passengers have taken to social media, expressing anger about the cruise line's customer service, as well as the additional costs they say they incurred waiting for news on their departure.
Port officials said a number of cargo ships have also been stuck off-shore, waiting for a break in the weather.
According to the National Weather Service, a cold front expected to move in Wednesday night should help clear the fog.