Since Saturday, the salvors have been working to lighten the Ever Forward in another bid to refloat the giant container ship stuck in the Chesapeake Bay. It has been there for four weeks now.
After days of dredging and two failed attempts to free the vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard and coordinating agencies determined that they needed to lighten the ship by removing 500 containers making for 5,000 tons of container load.
So far, about 50 containers have been safely discharged from the 12,000 TEU Ever Forward. As per USCG, the operation is expected to complete in two weeks but can be extended further depending on weather and other factors.
The offloading of containers takes place only during daylight hours. The discharge rate is expected to be about five containers per hour, given the complexity of the operation. Once the containers are removed, tugs and barges will attempt to refloat the 334 m long Ever Forward.
Also Read: Why Will the U.S. Shipping Container Crisis Not End Soon?
The Ever Forward ran aground 24 feet deep into the mud on March 13. About two weeks ago, crews made their first refloat attempt after a week of dredging but to no avail.
The ship has remained stable and shown no signs of pollution, but the Coast Guard continues monitoring the vessel. As per USCG, in addition to regular soundings of the ship’s ballast and fuel tanks, the ship’s stability and integrity are also being remotely monitored with the help of a recently installed sensor system.