A salvage plan and timeline for refloating of the Ever Forward containership firmly stuck in Chesapeake Bay remains uncertain now almost five full days since its grounding last Sunday night.
An update from the ship’s operator, Tawainese shipping company Evergreen Line, said the company can confirm that the grounding did not cause any damage to the vessel’s hull and there is no fuel leaking. Also, the propeller and rudder of the ship are full functional. This is the good news, considering the alternative.
But as of Friday, a Coast Guard spokesperson told us that the plan for refloating the vessel is still in the works. There has also been little activity around the grounded ship—pointing, in all likelihood, to a prolonged salvage effort that could likely to include dredging, lightening, and maybe some help from the moon’s gravitational pull (i.e. favorable tides).
Evergreen has confirmed the appointment of salvage provider Donjon Smit, a U.S. joint venture company between Donjon Marine and SMIT Salvage. A team of experts has been at the scene to assess the grounding situation, the weight of the cargo, and tidal range at the location, says Evergreen. All of this will be used to formulate a Coast Guard-approved salvage plan to refloat the ship.
The Ever Forward was travelling at nearly 13 knots when it exited the Craighill shipping channel and ran aground as it departed the Port of Balitmore on Sunday night a little before 9 p.m. local time. Shipping traffic in and out of the port has been unimpacted. The cause of the grounding is unclear.
A Captain of the Port order issued by the Coast Guard earlier this week 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. Meanwhile, a 500-yard safety zone remains in place around the vessel.
“[The refloating] is probably going to require lightening the ship, dredging & large salvage tugs,” according to maritime expert and frequent gCaptain contributor Dr. Sal Mercogliano.
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