The Ever Forward has been refloated after a 35-day salvage operation and the offloading of 500 containers.
The 12,000 teu Ever Forward was successfully refloated on Sunday morning having been grounded since 13 March in Chesapeake Bay near Craighill Channel after sailing from the Port of Baltimore.
It was the third attempt to refloat the Evergreen Marine containership following operations on 29 and 30 March failed to free the vessel. The earlier attempts had been made by dredging round the vessel, however, it was determined that Ever Forward needed to be lightered of some of its 4,964 containers onboard.
After the first two unsuccessful attempts to refloat the Ever Forward, Evergreen declared General Average on the vessel and its cargo.
Between 9 – 16 April some 500 containers, around 10% onboard, were offloaded using crane barges and then sent to Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore.
On Sunday morning, at high tide, two pulling barges, two tugs from Donjon-SMIT, two tugs from Moran, and two tugs from McAllister, were able to pull the Ever Forward free.
“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 US 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 minimising economic impacts.”
The vessel will now be towed to Annapolis Anchorage Grounds for inspection, before it can return to the Port of Baltimore to reload containers and continue on its voyage to Norfolk, Virginia.
Evergreen said: “We are deeply appreciative of the efforts put forth by the US Coast Guard, Maryland Port Administration, local and federal Environmental Protection Agencies, and the many private service providers that were engaged, all of whom worked tirelessly to bring this event to a successful conclusion.”
The grounding of the Ever Forward captured public attention and imagination coming almost exactly a year after the Ever Given grounded in the Suez Canal on 23 March 2021 blocking the key waterway for six days and causing havoc in global supply chains.
Source: Seatrade Maritime News