It was once a common practice to distribute the cargo of a wrecked ship to locals, especially perishable items. In this History Here, we hear of one such incident at Hatteras, where a Norwegian vessel carrying liquor and bananas ran aground while trying to avoid a storm.
Thomas Barnett, a member of the Coast Guard, was awarded a medal by the King of Norway for his "braveries" in rescuing the crews. The liquor — intended for the Bolivian Embassy in D.C. — was sent off, while the more than 16,000 bushels of bananas were distributed to locals. After weeks of eating banana bread, banana cake, and banana pudding, residents of Hatteras grew sick. Some of which gave up bananas altogether.
Tessa Johnstone, a collections manager for the North Carolina Maritime Museums, shares the story.