AmericasContainersGreater ChinaOperations

Complex Ever Forward refloat operation set to get underway in Chesapeake Bay

It could take another seven days for the 11,850 teu Ever Forward to move from its grounded position in Chesapeake Bay.

Eight days on from the ship becoming stuck on the sea floor having departed the port of Baltimore, the salvage team in cooperation with shipowner Evergreen and the local authorities have a plan in place to get the ship refloated, but the operation is expected to take all week.

The plan involves releasing ballast to lighten the load, dredging the bay’s muddy floor around the ship and making space between the propeller and rudder and the seabed. Once the ship is light enough, and sufficient mud has been moved, the salvors will wait for a high tide and deploy tugboats to shift the 334 m long boxship.

Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian at Campbell University in North Carolina, who has been watching the Ever Forward accident closely, suggested yesterday in a video update that the Evergreen ship was exceeding the recommended speed, doing 13 knots as it slipped out of the main navigation corridor, the Craighill Channel, and grounded.

The vessel’s draft was 13 m at the time of the grounding whereas the depth of water at the location of the grounding is reported to be only approximately 7.5 m.

“The apparent complexity, time and expense of the salvage operation now makes the possibility of shipowners declaring General Average more likely,” cargo claims specialist WK Webster stated in an update last week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. There is a salvage report of USS MIssouri still available on the web. An epic salvage effort. Viewing it is needed to grasp, what the salvors are facing in case of this huge merchant vsl.

  2. Evergreen first idea was unload cargo. And now they want “release” the ballast. What kind of idiots are these?

  3. How to Calculate Ship Squat
    The following formulae can be used as a guidance when calculating squat. Note however that every vessel is different and characteristics do change from ship to ship.
    a) Open Water: 1 x Cb x VxV / 100
    b) Canals/prismatic channels: 1.43 x Cb x VxV / 100
    c) Rock cuts/diametric channels: 2 x Cb x VxV / 100
    Answer is in metres, where Cb is the vessel’s block co-efficient and V is the ships speed in knots. Simple arithmetics with non-scientific calculator.
    Initial draft 13 mtrs, Depth of the channel in the vicinity of resting place as per various videos of charts is 15.1 mtrs . Hence available static UKC without any other variables was 2.1 mtrs. Assuming her Cb at abt 0.75 ( which should be in the ballpark) let us calculate THE MAGIC SQUAT for b) and c)
    b) SQ= 1.43 x 0.75 x 13×13/100 = 1.812 mtr
    c) SQ= 2 x 0.75 x 13×13/100= 2.54 mtr
    With tide range of 1 ft , small lists due to turning, causing increased draft to one side or another a prudent master should be at least concerned with the idea of whacking her up to 13 kts , while navigating in the underwater trench of outbound canal.

    Above simple calculation is required if He failed to notice on the bridge a huge graph with a wealth of useful info relating to his ship manoeuvring characteristics. Would be great to view the voyage plan with UKC calculation as per Company SMS, as non adherence to such , proved to be a final nail in the coffin of CMA CGM Libra G.A. case . The cowboy PILOT style is not even worth commenting upon in order not to irritate “Mr. Perfect”. Oh…. have completely forgotten abt the blowback tide. 13 is a bad number for Ever Green.

  4. A series of calculated placement of underwater explosive devices could create small (or large as necessary) “tidal waves” to raise the ship off of the bottom of the bay. With the aid of tugboats, the ship could be lifted and pulled as many times as necessary to move it to deeper waters. You guys can calculate how many explosions would be necessary and how large of a wave would be needed. I’m guessing the ship could only be moved 15 feet (give or take) per explosion. Just a thought. You guys do the math.

  5. Insufficient maneuverability leaded this overloaded ship to grounding. Any shiphandler knows it! Authorities are hiden the true when blaming pilot.

    1. Alias “Nara”. Sir.
      “overloaded ship” – please make yourself familiar with Load Line Convention downloadable for
      free in the web . The contents of this important document willl explain in depth and detail what overloaded means. Regarding causes of grounding pls excercise patience and wait for the NTSB investigation report , otherwise your statement is a pure speculation ,same as mine rumblings on the squat issue above. For practical purposes if You see a passing vessel in front of your well focused eyes and You can see a bottop paint ( Bottom paint is applied below the waterline on your boat, and typically refers to antifouling paint that prevents marine growth .) mostly light red in colour , then it means she is light , what means not fully loaded and that means NOT OVERLOADED. Cheers.

      1. Load Line Convention does not tell you, but “unfortunately” ships have to enter from time to time in ports where draft restrictions exist. If you ignore draft restrictions and if you deepload your vessel you will run aground. It is a technical question, not a human error!

        1. Alias .Sir
          Overloaded is a term relating /applicable to seasonal loadlines , hence vessel safety. Any draft exceeding permissible seazonal loadline renders the vessel “unseaworthy” and subject to movement restrictions by the local port authorities including stoppages , impounding and similar penalizing actions. Not to mention master being labelled and treated as a criminal.

          There is no port in the world without physical three dimensional restriction applicable solely to the size of the vessel : maximum draft, LOA, beam, height above the waterline . This restriction can be found and are described in detail in various publications available on the bridge : Guide to port entry, NP -pilot books, ALRS , various guidances including master’s reports , owners/managers/charterers voyage instructions and even CP’s .

          Such clauses in CPs like NAABSA or AABSA ( not always afloat but safe aground, always afloat but safe aground) clearly indicate intense focus of those involved in vessel ops (commercial interest0 , in the draft/ukc issue.

          Restrictions regarding draft can also be obtained directly by interrogating local agents and/or pilot station via ship to shore communications .

          Draft restrictions apply to berths, ports in general, approaches in general, “bars” . Read please Panama Canal, and Suez Canal restrictions regarding permissible drafts and ship sizes including ( trim restrictions, forward visibility restrictions) . ( look up all this – max terms like suez max, neopanamax and the whole plethora of other maxes)

          Local littoral state authorities, including pilots determine draft conditions of arrival departure in relation to the size of visiting vessel. Master is obliged to inform them via an agent or direct prior arrival and departure. And all above has nothing to do with overloading.

          In the particular case of Ever Forward 2.2 mtr static UKC was perfectly safe . What made it unsafe ( mechanical failure or dynamic conditions ) will be determined by the NTSB and not by internet ” gurus ” like You Sir and me .

          Hence it is fair to conclude ( in my private and unbiased opinion) , that your notion Sir of the term overloaded is to say the least ” corrupted”. Cheers and have a wonderfull rest of your day.

          1. Maximum legal draft does not coincide with the maximum technical draft. It’s easy to understand except for EverGree(d) and you.

Back to top button