A third attempt to refloat the grounded containership Ever Forward was made yesterday. It failed and the ship remains aground in Chesapeake Bay.
Today, shipowner Evergreen Marine said that, “in light of the increasing costs arising from the continued attempts to refloat the vessel,” it had declared General Average (GA). To grossly oversimplify things, GA means that cargo owners get to take a share of the salvage cost. You can find a fuller explanation of what’s involved here.
After the incident happened, says Evergreen, the company “immediately activated its emergency response plan and appointed the salvor Donjon-Smit to conduct underwater inspections and design a refloating plan. The program included dredging around the stranded vessel to increase buoyancy and deploying tugboats for the rescue operation. With the approval by the competent authorities, dredging operation began on March 20. Subsequent to the completion of the initial dredging phase, the rescue team made two attempts to refloat Ever Forward on March 29 and 30. Unfortunately, both attempts proved to be unsuccessful.
“The dredging operation and refloating attempts have been conducted for the common safety of the vessel and cargo, and in the interests of all parties involved in the voyage. Considering that the complexity of further rescue operations will require more manpower, equipment and costs to refloat the stranded vessel as soon as possible, Evergreen has for cautionary purposes declared General Average and nominated Richards Hogg Lindley as the GA adjuster.
“Evergreen Line urges all cargo interests involved, and joint venture slot users to provide security bonds and necessary documents according to the adjusting rules that govern GA in order to take delivery of cargo after the vessel is freed and arrives at its future ports of discharge.”
As things stand, the next attempt to refloat Ever Forward will be made on April 3-4, 2022, using two anchored pulling barges from the stern and five tugs—with an additional tug on bow pulling aft.
If that doesn’t work, attempts will be made to lighten the vessel. The prospect of taking containers off the vessel in its present position look daunting—and expensive.