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Dredging efforts continue as Ever Forward enters day 11 stuck in Chesapeake Bay

You may have seen cars or other vehicles overshooting traffic lanes and ending up ploughing into the dirt on the side of a highway.. This is what may have happened to the Ever Forward a 11,850 TEU capacity container ship in the Chesapeake Bay in the USA..

The Hong Kong flagged ship operated by Evergreen, the 7th largest container shipping line in the world, was on its way from the port of Baltimore in Maryland US to Norfolk when it is said to have missed a southbound turn in the Chesapeake Bay and ran aground (resting at the bottom) around 00:15 hrs (UTC) on the 13th of March 2022 near Gibson Island in the Chesapeake Bay channel..

11 days later, as of the 23rd March 2022, efforts are still underway to free the ship.. Dredging operations are underway to get the ship afloat again.. Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, channels and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors..

As per Sal Mercoglianos, the ship’s bow is around 4m out of the water and a prolonged salvage effort is expected to get her out of the water and sailing again..

As per Sal, the Ever Forward is said to have gone out of the Craighill Channel which has been dredged from 38 to 50 ft to accommodate neo-Panamax ships like the Ever Forward and plowed into the spoil area from the dredging which is about 24ft deep.. The Ever Forward needs about 42.5 ft to be able to sail.. 

Ever Forward Chesapeake Bay
Image : Sal Mercoglianos

On a lighter note, when I was watching Sal’s video about the update on the Ever Forward, he mentioned that as part of the salvage operation to release the ship, they will have to “pivot” the stern which immediately took me to the iconic “pivot” moment in Friends and I couldn’t resist a chuckle..

On a more serious note though, although the ship is not blocking any marine traffic, there are concerns about the environmental impact of this incident.. Maryland environmentalists and watermen are raising concerns on the potential impacts of the Ever Forward cargo ship, which is still currently stuck in the Chesapeake Bay..

Both groups said efforts on digging the ship out could have lasting environmental effects..

Concerns are being raised about potential oil spills based on worries about a breach in the ship’s hull especially when tug boats are pulling the ship out..

“This is a very, very large ship with, you know, a lot of fuel in it and until it’s safely removed from its grounding, then we will remain concerned. Hopefully, we don’t have to go into the secondary mode of responding to an oil spill,” Chesapeake Bay Foundation senior scientist Doug Myers said, talking to WBALTV..

Maryland watermen are also concerned about the trough that is going to be left behind after the ship has been released..

“The trough that’s going to be left there is going to be epic proportion,” said Delmarva Fisheries Association Chairman Rob Newberry while also worrying about the impact on crabs and oysters in the channel and also due it being the spawning season for striped bass..

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