William Doyle, executive director at the Maryland Port Administration, has revealed the salvage team on site at Chesapeake Bay will make a first attempt today to refloat the Ever Forward, a 12,000 teu Evergreen boxship which ran aground 16 days ago.
Five tugs will be involved in the operation, said Doyle. Two will push on the vessel’s starboard side, two will pull from port side and one will pull from the stern.
If the ship cannot be refloated on Tuesday, further attempts will be made on April 3 and 4 with the extra assistance of two anchored barges pulling from the stern and another tug pulling aft from the bow.
In a video update on the Ever Forward grounding incident posted on March 25, Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian at Campbell University in North Carolina, described how the ship had gone off course, outside the shipping channel, when it ran aground on March 13. With its stern only about a ship’s width outside the channel as opposed to its bow, which is about three ship widths out, dredging has been focused on the stern.
Evergreen said last Thursday that “the main concern of all parties involved … is to return the vessel to its operational status quickly and safely. As such, the issue of general average will be evaluated at a later date based on the progress of the refloating operation.”
Mercogliano noted that mud and clay being stirred up by the dredging operation is a concern because of its potential impacts on marine life in the area.