Stuck container ship in Chesapeake Bay finally flew up again

BALTIMORE (AP) – A container ship the length of more than three football fields has finally been brought up from the muddy bottom of the Chesapeake Bay more than a month after it ran aground.

After two unsuccessful attempts to loosen it, and the subsequent removal of about 500 of the 5,000 containers it carried, the Ever Forward was reflooded just before 7 a.m. Sunday morning by two barges and five tugs.

A full moon and high fountain helped give the salvage vessels a boost as they pulled and pushed the massive ship from the mud, across an excavated hole and back into the fairway.

Once Ever Forward was flown up again, Ever Forward was weighed down again by water tanks to ensure safe passage under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on its way to an anchorage off Annapolis, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Marine inspectors will examine the ship’s hull before the Coast Guard allows it to return to the port of Baltimore to retrieve the unloaded containers.

The cargo ship, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corp., was on its way from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, on March 13, when it ran aground just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Officials have said the grounding did not result in reports of injuries, damage or pollution. The Coast Guard has not said what caused Ever Forward to run aground.

The ship was stuck outside the fairway and did not block shipping, unlike last year’s high-profile grounding in the Suez Canal of its sister vessel, Ever Given. That incident disrupted shipping traffic and the global supply chain for days.

Salvage crews continued to unload containers from Ever Forward until 6 p.m. 22.30 Saturday. The containers were placed on barges and brought to Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal.

After two unsuccessful efforts to free the more than 1,000-foot (305-meter) vessel, salvage experts determined earlier this month that unloading some of the containers provided the best chance of floating it again. Crews also continued to deepen to a depth of 43 feet (13 meters) around the vessel.

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