After being stuck in the Chesapeake Bay for more than a month, the Ever Forward has been successfully refloated.
The giant container ship Ever Forward ran aground 24 feet deep into the mud on March 13. According to the Coast Guard, it was finally refloated via a 35-day-long salvage operation.
The salvors had made two unsuccessful attempts to free the grounded ship before they began removing containers to lighten the load. Finally, after unloading about 500 containers, the Ever Forward was refloated at around 7 a.m. Sunday by five tugboats and two barges.
A full moon and high spring tide helped the salvage vessels as they pulled and pushed the giant container ship off the muddy bottom, across a dredged hole and back into the shipping channel.
As per a Baltimore Sun report, once refloated, the Ever Forward was weighed down again by ballasting the tanks to ensure safe passage under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on its way to an anchorage off Annapolis.
The USCG will conduct a detailed inspection of the ship at Annapolis anchorage.
If there is no damage to the hull, the 12,000 TEU Ever Forward will head back to the Port of Baltimore to reload the 500 containers that were unloaded to refloat the ship before resuming its voyage to Norfolk.
The USCG said it hadn’t determined the cause of Ever Forward grounding. However, the ship was outside the shipping channel and did not block navigation, unlike last year’s famous grounding of Ever Given in the Suez Canal, which disrupted the global supply chain.
Evergreen Marine Corp., in its official statement, said, “We are deeply appreciative of the efforts put forth by the US Coast Guard, Maryland Port Administration, local and federal Environmental Protection Agencies, and the many private service providers that were engaged, all of whom worked tirelessly to bring this event to a successful conclusion.”