Following a 35-day-long salvage operation, Ever Forward has been refloated after being grounded in the Chesapeake Bay near Craighill Channel in the United States on 13 March.
The 2020-built container vessel will be towed to the Annapolis Anchorage Grounds for inspection. Once the inspection process is completed, the ship will reload the containers that had been removed and continue its voyage to its next port of call in Norfolk, Virginia.
"Refloating the Ever Forward, which was hard aground outside of the navigation channel along the entire length of the ship’s hull, required extensive coordination of responders and involved the development and implementation of a comprehensive salvage plan, including dredging and push and pull tugboat operations," said the United States Coast Guard (USGC) in a statement.
The successful refloat attempt came after two failures on 29 and 30 March. After the two unsuccessful tries, salvage experts determined they would not be able to overcome the ground force of the Ever Forward in its loaded condition, with 4,964 containers aboard, with operations for the removal of 500 containers running from 9 through 16 April.
"For safety and balance purposes, containers from both the port and starboard sides of the ship were removed and placed on receiving barges during daylight hours only. These containers were then taken to their original onboarding facility, Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, and offloaded by shore-based handling gear," noted USCG.
After the containers were removed, two pulling barges, two tugs from Donjon-SMIT, two tugs from Moran, and two tugs from McAllister freed the Ever Forward at approximately 7 a.m (local time) on 17 April.
Capt. David O’Connell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region, commented, “It was the collaboration of each responding agency, Evergreen Marine Corporation, and dedicated responders that resulted in the successful refloating of Ever Forward.”
In a corporate statement, Evergreen Line representatives stated, “We are deeply appreciative of the efforts put forth by the USCG, 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.”