Stuck Boxship Ever Forward Finally Refloated in Chesapeake Bay

ever forward refloat
William Doyle / MPA

Published Apr 17, 2022 7:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

After more than a month of complex salvage response efforts, the boxship Ever Forward has been refloated and removed from the Chesapeake Bay.

The 1,100-foot Ever Forward grounded on March 13 while transiting south in the Chesapeake towards Norfolk, Virginia. The vessel reportedly missed a turn and exited the fairway off Pasadena, Maryland. Donjon Smit was appointed to undertake the salvage, with the U.S. Coast Guard supervising a unified command for the response. An initial assessment determined that it would be a challenging refloat operation: the vessel had driven her bow deep into the mud when she left the shipping channel.

After several failed attempts to pull the ship out with tugs and pull barges, the salvage team determined that they would need to lighter several hundred containers off the deck of the ship using crane barges. They ultimately removed about 500 boxes, according to local media. The team also dredged out around the ship to a depth of 43 feet, removing about 20 feet of sediment on both the port and starboard sides. 

Image courtesy William Doyle / MPA

On Sunday morning, the salvage team took advantage of a high tide to tow the vessel off the bank. Photos from the scene show at least four tugs pulling on Ever Forward's bow, and AIS data show at least four more attending the operation. 

"A tremendous team effort with a little help from the Easter Sunday rising tide in the Chesapeake Bay. The Evergreen Ever Forward has been [refloated]," Maryland Port Administration director William P. Doyle said in a social media message. 

The Ever Forward has become a local tourist attraction in the past few weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Visitors have driven for miles to a small park on the Maryland shore in order to look out on the stranded containership and the rescue operation.