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Ever Forward finally moves on

The Ever Forward was refloated in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay on Sunday, 35 days after it ran aground shortly after sailing from the Port of Baltimore. 

“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,” the U.S. Coast Guard, which coordinated the salvage efforts with the Maryland Department of the Environment and Evergreen Marine Corp., said in a statement. 

The 1,095-foot-long Ever Forward, built in 2020, was carrying 4,964 containers when it ran aground March 13. The laden ship got stuck in mud and two earlier efforts to refloat the container ship were unsuccessful because salvage crews were not able to “overcome the ground force of the Ever Forward in its loaded condition,” the Coast Guard said. 

Dredging was conducted to a depth of 43 feet and crane barges were used to remove 500 containers from the vessel. The containers were returned to the Seagrit Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore and offloaded. 

With the help of two pulling barges and six tugs, the Ever Forward was freed at about 7 a.m. Sunday.

“The vastness and complexity of this response were historic, as an incident like the Ever Forward grounding in type and duration is a rare occurence,” said Capt. David O’Connell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region.

The Coast Guard said the Ever Forward would be towed to the Annapolis Anchorage Grounds for inspection and then reload the 500 containers at the Port of Baltimore and continue its planned voyage to the Port of Virginia. No berthing date at the Port of Virginia was given. 

The grounding of the Ever Forward drew international attention because of the spectacle it created in Chesapeake Bay as well as its name. Another Evergreen container ship, the Ever Given, disrupted the global supply chain when it was stuck for a week in the Suez Canal in March 2021. 

The Ever Forward, which has a carrying capacity of 11,850 twenty-foot equivalent units and is used on the Ocean Alliance’s Asia-U.S. East Coast service, had called Colon, Panama, and Savannah, Georgia, before sailing to Baltimore.

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