It took five weeks and three attempts, but on Sunday around 7 a.m. Ever Forward, a 1,095-foot container ship operated by the same company whose ship blocked the Suez Canal last year, finally broke free in the Chesapeake Bay.
Loaded with about 5,000 containers, Ever Forward was en route from Baltimore to Norfolk, VA when, according to the United States Coast Guard, it ran aground on March 13 near Craighill Channel.
“Preliminary reports indicated that there was no injury, contamination or damage to the vessel as a result of the grounding,” the agency said in a statement at the time. The ship, which was stuck about 20 miles southeast of Baltimore, was not obstructing the channel, it added.
More than two weeks later, after a week of dredging beneath the ship, the Coast Guard, together with the Maryland Department of the Environment and Evergreen Marine Corp, which owns the ship, made a first attempt to re-float it. His efforts were unsuccessful.
He tried again the next day, but the ship did not move.
“Rescue experts have determined that they will not be able to exceed the ground force of Ever Forward in its loaded position,” the Coast Guard said in a statement on Sunday.
On April 4, officials announced a new plan: They would continue to dig up sediment to a depth of 43 feet as well as begin unloading Ever Forward’s containers on barges that would send them back to Baltimore.
Once the ship’s load was lightened, the tug and pull barge would attempt another refloat as officials continued to monitor pollution. A naval architect and rescue master will remotely track the stability of the ship.
This new strategy will take about two weeks, the Coast Guard said, providing it “the best chance Ever Forward to successfully reflow.”
Early Sunday, attempts to resupply the ship were finally successful, Petty Officer Third Class Brenna Centeno, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said by phone.
In a statement, the agency said it had removed 500 containers from the ship and more than 200,000 cubic yards of material from the estuary bed, which will be used to offset erosion in three miles of land at Poplar Island. . bay.
The Coast Guard’s Maryland-National Capital Region commander, Captain David O’Connell, said the ship’s grounding was a “rare incident”. “The enormity and complexity of this response was historic,” he said.
Petty Officer Centeno said the Coast Guard would continue to investigate how the ship got stuck.
The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, sank six days after the Suez Canal, nearly a year after Ever Given.
Ever Given, which is about a quarter-mile long, got stuck on March 23, 2021, blocking a channel that is believed to handle about 10 percent of global commercial maritime traffic.
By the time the ship was decommissioned, 367 ships had been waiting to pass through the canal. The crash was devastating for the shipping industry, freezing nearly $10 billion in trade a day.
In a statement, the Maryland Port Administration’s executive director, William Doyle, described the task of freeing Ever Forward as an “excellent team effort” that was aided by, “Easter Sunday Rising Tide in the Chesapeake”. Bay. “