Coast Guard: Ever Forward stuck in the middle of Chesapeake Bay; refloating underway with five tugs


A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, in Baltimore, patrols Tuesday, March 29, 2022, alongside the grounded container ship EVER FORWARD in the Chesapeake Bay near Craighill Channel. The EVER FORWARD departed Baltimore March 13 en route to Norfolk, Virginia, when it grounded. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham/Released)

Chesapeake Bay safety zone for EVER FORWARD response to be extended Tuesday March 29th for refloat operations

BALTIMORE — The U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Evergreen Marine Corporation, in partnership with multiple state and local responders, will make an initial attempt to refloat the container ship EVER FORWARD Tuesday at noon following more than a week of dredging operations.

Weather conditions at the end of last week resulted in a slight delay in the operations from the originally anticipated refloat schedule.

During Tuesday’s refloat attempt, the current 500-yard safety zone around the ship in the Chesapeake Bay will be temporarily extended to 1,000 yards, closing the navigation channel to commercial traffic to provide for the safety of persons and the marine environment. 

The expanded temporary safety zone will be enforced from noon Tuesday through midnight on March 29.

The public should anticipate one-way traffic at a reduced safe speed to resume at midnight or at the discretion of the Captain of the Port following the refloat attempt.  

Ensuring the ship’s stability, and monitoring for potential pollution continue to be top priorities of the unified command and responders. In addition to regular soundings of fuel and ballast tanks, a naval architect is currently aboard EVER FORWARD constantly monitoring and evaluating the ship’s stability, and will continue to do so during the refloat operation.

If required, additional dredging operations will commence and a second attempt to refloat the EVER FORWARD would then be expected to occur on or about Sunday.

Mariners are requested to monitor VHF channel 16 for the latest information.

The EVER FORWARD salvage operation began Sunday, March 13 after the 1,095-foot container ship grounded in the Chesapeake Bay near Craighill Channel.

A response boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay monitors the 1,095-foot motor vessel Ever Forward, which became grounded in the Chesapeake Bay, on March 13, 2022. The Coast Guard and Maryland Department of the Environment are coordinating the refloating of the container ship. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kimberly Reaves/Released)

BALTIMORE — The Coast Guard and Maryland Department of the Environment are coordinating the refloating of motor vessel Ever Forward, a 1,095-foot container vessel that is grounded in the Chesapeake Bay, near Craighill Channel.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region received the initial report at 9 p.m., Sunday, from the vessel. Initial reports indicated no injuries, pollution, or damage to the vessel as a result of the grounding. 

Coast Guard watchstanders have issued a Safety Marine Information Broadcast to mariners in the area stating that a safety zone will be in place during salvage operations. Currently, the Ever Forward is not obstructing the navigational channel; however, vessels operating in the vicinity will be required to conduct one-way traffic and transit at a reduced speed. 

Who’s in charge of the ship?

The following information is from the Maryland Association of Bay Pilots:

Each ship engaged in foreign trade coming to Maryland ports is required to take on a local ship handling specialist, known as the Pilot, to navigate the vessel safely into port. Pilots are regulated by the State of Maryland under the Department of Labor, State Board of Pilots.

The State Board of Pilots oversees the selection, training, licensing, and regulation of all State Pilots. The rates and charges for the service the Pilots provide are established by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Maryland’s Pilots are on call around the clock every day of the year no matter what the weather conditions may be.

Ever Forward stuck in Chesapeake Bay night of March 13, 2022

The Chesapeake Bay is Unique

The Chesapeake Bay is the longest pilotage route on the United States East Coast, with nearly 200 miles of Bay waters. Ships longer than 4 football fields and with drafts of nearly 48‘ deep routinely transit the narrow ship channels leading to Baltimore that are only 50′ in depth. More than 96% of all ships coming to Maryland are manned by foreign officers and crews, many from third-world countries, and 95% of all U.S. international cargo is carried by ships. Pilots are on the “front lines” protecting the environmental and ecological balance of the Chesapeake Bay by ensuring the safe passage of these large ships that carry huge quantities of oil and other hazardous materials. MORE

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