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A team of technical experts has boarded the grounded Ever Forward in Chesapeake Bay this week to evaluate the condition of the ship and determine a plan for refloating, a port official said Wednesday.
The 334-meter-long Ever Forward has been stuck in the mud since Sunday night after straying from the Craighill shipping channel as it departed the Port of Baltimore for Norfolk, Virginia, with a pilot on board.
William Doyle, the Executive Director of the Port of Balitmore, said technical experts boarded the ship Monday and Tuesday to evaluate its condition. Meanwhile, a salvage team, naval architects and divers are working to determine the best course of action to free the vessel.
Operations at the Port of Baltimore continue as normal as the Ever Forward is located outside the main shipping channel and isn’t blocking arrivals or departures at the port, Doyle said.
There are no reports of injuries, pollution, or damage to the vessel as a result of the grounding, according to the Coast Guard, the lead federal agency in the response.
A Captain of the Port order has been issued by the Coast Guard requires Ever Forward’s crew to conduct regular soundings tanks to monitor for pollution and report any changes in stability, draft, position, or signs of an oil spill. A 500-yard safety zone remains in place around the vessel.
An update from cargo consultancy WK Webster on Wednesday said a salvage security is not required by cargo interests, however it is possible that General Average will be declared and, if so, a GA security may be required in order for cargo interests prior to delivery.
The Ever Forward reported its draft at the time of its departure as 13 meters (about 42.5 feet), where as the location of the grounding appears to be only about 24 feet. With not a lot of tug activity around the vessel, it seems refloating the ship is likely to stretch into several days, if not weeks, but as of now it’s hard to say for certain.
A spokesperson for the Coast Guard said Donjon-SMIT is the appointed salvage company in the operation.
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