Ship boat

A freighter stuck in the Chesapeake Bay for more than a month is free

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The container ship Ever Forward, which ran aground on March 13 in the Chesapeake Bay, was finally freed shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

The 1,095ft vessel, owned by Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine Corp., was en route from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk when it somehow slipped out of a shipping channel and got stuck in the Chesapeake Bay near the Bay Bridge. The reason for the ship’s departure from the shipping channel and grounding is still under investigation, according to Chris James, director of response operations for Witt O’Brien’s, a Houston-based company contracted by Evergreen Marine. .

The huge boat – whose length is only 155 feet from the height of the Empire State Building to its top floor – was carrying around 4,900 containers, and crews had to remove exactly 500 to lighten the load. weight of the boat. Crews also had to dredge about 20 feet of material – dirt, sand, clay and mud from the bottom of the bay – on both sides to bring the boat back into the shipping channel.

After her release, the Ever Forward had a new problem, but one that was much easier to solve: without all those containers – each weighing an average of around 15 tons or 14,000 kilograms – the boat was now too big to pass under the Bay Bridge, just south of where he had been stuck. Quickly, however, she took a large volume of “ballast water” from the bay to sink it deeper into the water, and soon after she passed the bridge.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., the Ever Forward dropped anchor so it could carry out a “survey” or inspection by a group of marine surveyors hired by the company, according to James. Although divers have already determined that her hull suffered no major damage from her grounding, the boat was yet to make a pit stop for another round of examination. Once the Coast Guard has signed off on the inspection – which should be completed by tomorrow at the latest – the boat is free to continue.

Then the Ever Forward will turn around and head north toward Baltimore Harbor. There he will collect the 500 containers that had been removed and stored in a safe place while the boat awaited release. Once he collects his belongings, the Ever Forward will head south again and resume its journey to Norfolk, James said.

This story will be updated.