The video posted to Facebook by The State Port Pilot shows the ship come to a sudden stop in shallow water and begin to spin around with its propellers still turning.
A small boat near the ship hurriedly gets out of the way.
It happened along the Intracoastal Waterway route up the Cape Fear River into Wilmington.
The Coast Guard said the ship's captain blamed the grounding on a propulsion problem.
The ship was refloated and nobody was hurt.