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First Attempt to Refloat Ever Forward Scheduled for Tuesday Afternoon

attempt to refloat grounded containership Ever Forward
Ever Forward has been aground in the Chesapeake Bay for two weeks (William Doyle photo/Twitter)

Published Mar 28, 2022 12:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

Salvage teams working at the site of the grounded containership Ever Forward are ready to make their first attempt to refloat the vessel at high tide tomorrow and if that effort is not successful, they have detailed a more extensive plan for the following week. This comes after more than a week of dredging at the location in the Chesapeake Bay.

The salvage operation is being managed by Donjon Smit hired by Evergreen under the supervision of a unified command established by the U.S. Coast Guard. According to details released by the U.S. Coast Guard and Port of Baltimore Executive Director William Doyle, the first attempt will come tomorrow after two dredges working since March 20 have removed silt from around the vessel.

A total of five tugs have been assembled for the attempt to refloat the 1,095-foot vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard is extending the safety zone around the vessel to 1,000 yards as of noon on March 29, closing the navigation channel in that section of the Chesapeake Bay to traffic until approximately midnight. Two tugs will be alongside pushing on the starboard side, while two additional tugs will be pulling along the portside. The fifth tug will be a long pull from the stern with the attempt that appears coordinated to the afternoon high tide. 

Evergreen had previously said that the ballast water levels on the Ever Forward would also be adjusted before the efforts to pull the 127,000 dwt containership free from the mud. The plan calls for the tugs to work in unison with the ship’s engines in the effort to reposition her back into the shipping channel.

The effort comes after the two dredges, including the largest in the western hemisphere, were forced to briefly suspend work on March 26. Thunderstorms, rain showers, and heavy winds passed over the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday. 

If they are unable to refloat the Ever Forward tomorrow, the next scheduled attempt according to the U.S. Coast Guard is expected on Sunday, April 3. In addition to the five tugs, Doyle reported that they will also be “using two anchored pulling barges from the stern and an additional tug on bow pulling aft.”

Ever Forward was due to proceed to Norfolk, Virginia as her next port of call before the grounding two weeks ago. The vessel will need to undergo further inspections after she is refloated, which coincidentally might come exactly one year after Ever Given was refloated in the Suez Canal.