A third refloat attempt of the grounded 11,850 TEU container ship Ever Forward will take place as soon as more dredging has taken place. Initially, this was planned for 3 April, but this has been postponed to allow for further dredging around the vessel to a depth of 43 feet (over 13 metres).
The US Coast Guard has reported additional dredging is now taking place. A third attempt to refloat the vessel, will be undertaken once this has been completed. A 500-yard (about 450 metres) safety zone, around-the-clock monitoring for potential pollution and stability checks are on-going.
In the meantime, ship operator Evergreen Line has declared General Average on the container ship. The company did this now that it expects further rescue operations will involve more manpower, equipment and costs.
Earlier refloat attempts
A first refloat attempt was undertaken on Tuesday, 29 March. Five tugs were deployed for this, with two pushing on starboard side, two pulling from port side and one long pull from the stern. However, weather conditions proved less suitable than expected, with wind pushing water out the of the area creating a lower tide, and the vessel didn’t budge.
A day later, conditions were better and two extra tugs were brought in, but to no avail. The US Coast Guard said the ship is practically buried in the bank, which makes the operation very difficult. A third attempt was initially planned for Sunday, 3 April, once again at high tide, but the decision has now been made to first undertake more dredging.
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.