Responders ready to refloat boxship two weeks after grounding

(BALTIMORE) — The U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment and Evergreen Marine Corp., in partnership with multiple state and local responders, will make an initial attempt to refloat the containership Ever Forward on 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 Chesapeake Bay will be temporarily extended to 1,000 yards, closing the navigation channel to commercial traffic to provide for the safety of people and the marine environment.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay monitors the 1,095-foot Ever Forward on March 14 in Chesapeake Bay. U.S. Coast Guard photo

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 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 containership grounded in Chesapeake Bay near Craighill Channel.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller