After bringing in an additional two tugs bringing the total to seven, a second attempt was made to refloat the 11,850 TEU container ship Ever Forward. Once again, the vessel didn’t budge and remained grounded in Chesapeake Bay. A third attempt is scheduled for Sunday.
‘It almost buried itself into the bank, so that’s why it’s not an easy operation,’ Cpt. David O’Connell from the US Coast Guard told American news channel CBS Baltimore.
During the first refloat attempt wind had been pushing water out of the area creating a lower tide. On Wednesday (30 March), conditions were expected to be better, but in the end it made no difference.
Third attempt scheduled for Sunday
The ship’s operator, Evergreen Line, had already announced dredging around the vessel would continue should the refloat attempts fail. So far, 64,000 cubic metres of mud have already been removed.
Both the US Coast Guard and Port of Baltimore director William Doyle have said a new refloat attempt would take place on Sunday, 3 April. Should this attempt fail as well, the US Coast Guard says it might move to unloading containers to lighten the vessel.
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.