In case you didn’t know, there’s been a container ship stuck on a sandbank for a while. No, not the one in the Suez Canal — that was freed almost a year ago. This was the Ever Forward, and it lodged itself on a sandbank in the Chesapeake Bay while leaving the Port of Baltimore. Now, after more than a month, it is free to set sail once again.
The Ever Forward has had quite the ordeal since it beached itself on a sandbank on March 14th.
The ship was leaving the Port of Baltimore on its way to Norfolk, Virginia when it ran aground. After it became clear that the ship would not be able to dislodge itself under its own steam, the US Coast Guard stepped in to try to rescue the vessel.
Workers dug a trench on the bay for the ship to sail through, before they tried pulling the enormous boat off the sandbank.
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The initial rescue attempt took place on April 2nd and saw crews use five tugs and two anchored pulling barges to try to force the vessel off the sandbank and into the deeper channel that they had dredged. The barges were attached to the rear of the Ever Forward and served as an anchor while the tugs were used to try and move the port, starboard and bow of the ship.
And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, that didn’t quite go to plan.
Salvage workers regrouped and came back with a new plan last week. This time, they would remove some of the 5,000 containers that were on the Ever Forward to try to reduce the ship’s load.
After they had unloaded 500 containers, workers once again brought out the tug boats to try to pull the Ever Forward off its sandy stomping ground. Five tug boats and two large barges were used to free the Ever Forward, which finally broke away from the sandbank at 7am on Sunday (April 17th).
According to CBS News, “a full moon and high spring tide helped provide a lift” to the vessel, which was re-floated into the deeper channel that workers had excavated weeks prior.
The Ever Forward has now been anchored off Annapolis, The Baltimore Sun reported, where its hull will be inspected before it can be returned to the Port of Baltimore to retrieve the offloaded containers.
Despite being stuck in the sand for more than five weeks, the Ever Forward didn’t manage to capture the attention of the world in the same way as its sister ship, the Ever Given, when it was stranded in the Suez.
Maybe it’s because it wasn’t quite as disruptive to global shipping, or maybe it’s just because we all aren’t quite as bored as we were this time last year. But, with more than 100 vessels in the Evergreen shipping line fleet, it’s surely just a matter of time before another of its great hulking ships gets itself stuck once again.