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Evergreen has plan to refloat Ever Forward

Dredgers will dig out mud to increase buoyancy of container ship’s hull

Evergreen Line said Friday it has a plan to refloat the Ever Forward, which ran aground in Chesapeake Bay last Sunday. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Evergreen Line has a plan to refloat the container ship aground in Chesapeake Bay.

“Donjon Smit, the salvor appointed by Evergreen, has conducted several underwater inspections of Ever Forward. The data collected has been analyzed and an effective refloating plan has been designed. This plan can be implemented after approval by the competent authority,” an Evergreen spokesman said in a Friday afternoon email to American Shipper. 

The Ever Forward, with a carrying capacity of 11,850 twenty-foot equivalent units, ran aground last Sunday after departing the Port of Baltimore. 

“In terms of planning for rescue operations, dredgers will be used to excavate around the stranded vessel to remove part of the mud, increase the buoyancy of the hull and increase the space (clearance) between the rudder and the seabed to ensure the safety of the ship,” the Evergreen spokesman said. 

“The rescue team is mobilizing all available local tugboats to join in the refloating operation,” he continued. “After sufficient mud is excavated, the amount of ballast water on Ever Forward will be adjusted to reduce the ship’s weight and the refloating operation will begin using both the tugboats and the power of her main engine. The rescue team will carry out the plan utilizing the most beneficial high-tide period in the port area.”

The spokesman did not say when the dredging would begin or how long it was expected to take to free the Ever Forward. But Sal Mercogliano, a Campbell University department chair and frequent FreightWavesTV guest, predicted in a video this week “a long, laborious operation.”

The Ever Forward was bound for Norfolk, Virginia, when it ran aground. In addition to Baltimore, the container ship had called Colon, Panama, and Savannah, Georgia. The Ever Forward sails on the Ocean Alliance’s Asia-U.S. East Coast service. It was expected to call New York before transiting the Panama Canal to pick up cargo in China. 

Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Marine, this week cautioned against comparing the case of the Ever Forward to that of another Evergreen container ship, the Ever Given, which notoriously was wedged between the banks of the Suez Canal for a week in March 2021. 

The Ever Forward incident “should not be blown out of proportion,” Jensen said in a LinkedIn post, adding that the “reality is that vessels do at times get stuck and this is not an event with major global ramifications.”

William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, confirmed in an email to American Shipper late Thursday afternoon that the Ever Forward’s location just off Gibson Island near the Craighill channel is not preventing other ships from transiting to or from the Port of Baltimore.

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.