After a month stuck in Chesapeake Bay, the container ship Ever Forward is back on the move, the US Coast Guard announced in a news release.
With the removal of hundreds of containers, the Ever Forward was freed on Sunday around 7 a.m. ET by two pulling barges and six tugboats. The team dredged 43 feet deep, amounting to 206,280 cubic yards of material, which was removed to Poplar Island “to offset erosion at the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration project,” the release noted.
The Ever Forward will be towed to the Annapolis Anchorage Grounds for inspection, the news release said. There, it will reload the containers that were removed from its hull and continue its voyage to its next port of call, Norfolk, Virginia.
The fully loaded ship left Baltimore March 13 en route to Norfolk, strayed from the usual commercial shipping lanes and ran aground in shallow water.
The 1,095-foot Hong Kong-flagged container ship is operated by Evergreen Marine Corporation, also owners of the Ever Given, which became stuck in the Suez Canal last summer.
The Ever Forward’s 35-day-long salvage operation was undertaken by the Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Evergreen Marine Corporation, as well as state and local responders.
“The vastness and complexity of this response were historic, as an incident like the Ever Forward grounding, in type and duration, is a rare occurrence,” said Capt. David O’Connell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region. “It was the collaboration of each responding agency, Evergreen Marine Corporation, and dedicated responders that resulted in the successful refloating of Ever Forward while ensuring the safety of the public and response personnel, mitigating pollution potential, and minimizing economic impacts.”
Amid operations, steps were taken to protect the environment, the release emphasized, including by regularly monitoring the ship’s fuel tanks and prestaging equipment – including the containment boom – for rapid deployment in the event of a fuel release.
Donjon-SMIT, the company in charge of dredging material, was also issued a license by the state of Maryland to “assess the dredge and vessel grounding area for impacts to a natural oyster bar in the area, provide a report to the Maryland Department of the Environment after the vessel’s removal and then develop a plan for any mitigation determined to be required for impacts to that oyster bar,” the release showed.