The State of Maryland has asked Taiwanese liner Evergreen to establish a so-called responsibility fund to pay for costs related to the month-long grounding of its Ever Forward vessel in the state’s Chesapeake Bay.
In a letter to Benjamin Tsai, president of Evergreen Shipping Agency (America) Corporation, Maryland comptroller Peter Franchot said, “While we do not know the full scope of the environmental impact thus far, a 131,420-ton ship, carrying tons of cargo and fuel, getting stuck in our waters undoubtedly has resulted in disruptions to the Bay’s fragile ecosystem.”
Franchot asked the company to set up a $100m fund to cover the environment-related costs, as well as economic costs, in particular for the seafood industry.
“The damage that this incident has already caused – and could potentially continue to cause – will require financial resources to correct,” he said.
Regarding the dredging undertaken to help free the ship, Franchot wrote: “While this may have been a necessary action, among its potential consequences include damage to oyster beds and disruptions to the spawning season for several species that our seafood industry – already struggling economically due to labor shortages – will harvest in the coming months.”
Franchot said money from the fund would potentially compensate workers in the seafood industry if they are impacted, and pay the cost of labor for employees from federal, state and local agencies involved in refloating the ship.
“The establishment of this fund will send a clear message that Evergreen is a good faith actor,” he said, that “understands the environmental and economic damage this incident has caused to the state of Maryland.”