After two failed refloat attempts, the operator of the grounded 11,850 TEU container ship Ever Forward, Evergreen Line, has declared General Average. The company says it has done so for ‘cautionary purposes’ as the complexity of further rescue operations will involve more manpower, equipment and costs.
Two refloat attempts have been undertaken so far. One on Tuesday, 29 March with five tugs and a second one a day later, with seven tugs. However, so far, the ship doesn’t budge. A third one is scheduled for Sunday.
Evergreen Line now foresees that the refloat operation will be more complex, resulting in higher costs, prompting the company to declare General Average on the Ever Forward. The ship operator urges all cargo interests involved, and joint venture slot users to provide security bonds and necessary documents according to the adjusting rules that govern General Average in order to take delivery of cargo after the vessel is freed and arrives at its future ports of discharge.
The law of general average is a principle of maritime law whereby all stakeholders in a sea venture proportionately share any losses resulting from a voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole in an emergency.
The Hong-Kong flagged container ship operated by Evergreen, reported to be carrying general cargo, departed Baltimore on Sunday 13 March and was en route to Norfolk, Virginia, when it grounded in Chesapeake Bay. The Ever Forward was built in 2020 and is 334 metres long and 48 metres wide. The vessel is not blocking shipping traffic.
Evergreen has hired the Smit-Donjon to refloat the grounded container ship. Donjon-Smit is a joint venture of Donjon Marine Co. and Smit Salvage. The latter (with parent company Boskalis) was also responsible for refloating the Ever Given, which ran aground in the Suez Canal in March 2021 and blocked the Canal for almost a week.
Picture by the US Coast Guard.