Ever Forward Credit Matthew Abbott at Baltimore Shipspotting.
Credit: Matthew Abbott at Baltimore Shipspotting

Dredging around the grounded Ever Forward, has begun to free the vessel, which is expected to take at least a week, according to informed sources.

Vessel owner Evergreen has appointed Houston salvage company Donjon Smit to work with the US Coastguard to refloat the stricken box ship.

Matthew Abbott, author of the local Baltimore Shipspotting blog, told The Loadstar: “The depth where the ship is grounded is about seven metres.

“There’s a pilot onboard from the moment a ship enters the Chesapeake Bay to the moment it docks. It is narrow but wide enough for two ships to pass, but even though Ever Forward is outside the ship channel, other vessels are slowing and only passing one at a time.”

On Friday Evergreen said: “An effective refloating plan has been designed, which can be implemented after approval by the competent authority.”

The competent authority in this case is the USCG, which, an Evergreen spokesperson said, was helping to expedite salvage of the 12,000 teu vessel after it ran aground a little before 9pm, local time, on 13 March after departing from Baltimore.

According to Evergreen, dredgers will clear the mud around the vessel’s rudder and propeller and around the hull to loosen the ship from the hold the muddy seabed has on it. Tugboats will assist, attempting to drag the ship off the ocean floor and its engine will also help.

“The rescue team will carry out the plan utilising the most beneficial high tide period in the port area,” said Evergreen.

Tidal differences in Chesapeake Bay are, however, very small, with high tide offering just 0.5m in extra depth during high tide over the coming week.

Credit: Matthew Abbott at Baltimore Shipspotting, @BShipspotting.

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