The container ship Ever Forward, which ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay on March 13, was finally released after 7 a.m. on Sunday.
The 1,095-foot vessel was built by Taiwan’s Evergreen Shipping Company. On its way from Baltimore Harbor to Norfolk, it somehow veered off course and got stuck in Chesapeake Bay near the Bay Bridge. Chris James, director of response operations for Witt O’Brien’s, a Houston company hired by Evergreen Marine, said the reason the ship left the channel and ran aground is still under investigation.
The massive ship—just 155 feet long from the height of the Empire State Building to its top floor—carried about 4,900 containers, 500 of which the crew had to remove to reduce the weight of the ship. The crew also had to dig about 20 feet of material—mud, sand, clay and mud—from the bottom of the bay on either side to tow the boat back into the channel.
After liberation, Ever Forward had a new but much simpler problem to solve: Without all those containers — each weighing on average about 15 tons or 14,000 kilograms — the ship is now too big to simply pass through South of the Bay Bridge. It got stuck. However, she soon removed a large amount of “ballast water” from the bay, dumped it deeper in the water, and passed the bridge shortly after.
Then, at 10.30am, Ever Forward berthed to allow James to complete a “survey” or inspection by a team of nautical experts hired by the company. Although divers had determined that the hull had not suffered any major damage from the grounding, the ship had to stop for another round of investigation. Once the Coast Guard approves the inspection – which is expected to be completed by tomorrow at the latest – the ship can move on.
Ever Forward then turned and headed north back to Baltimore Harbor. There it will retrieve 500 containers that were removed and stored for safekeeping while the ship awaits liberation. Once she has packed her belongings, Forever Forward will return south to continue her voyage to Norfolk, James said.
Leave a Reply