Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Second Grounding Incident of Taiwanese Company Container Vessel Comes To An End

Ship Undamaged and Cargo to be Reloaded After a Month Delay
Shipping News Feature

US – The latest bit of ill luck which the Evergreen Marine Corporation has suffered at least engendered fewer headlines than the last, as the Taiwanese shipping group's container vessel, the 12,000 TEU Ever Forward was finally floated off the bank which she stranded on over a month previously.

When the same company’s ship, the Ever Given, got stuck in the Suez Canal in March, causing disruption out of all proportion in what was a massive hit to the global supply chain in just six days, the global media awoke to the fact that incidents such as this could paralyse the operations of those with vital goods aboard.

Looked at rationally however this last incident is by far less comprehensible. The Given was a huge, flat sided floating hulk, sitting in a windy corridor where one tiny error or problem could lead to her being swung around by the wind and driven into the canal banking, which it seems was exactly what happened.

The Forward on the other hand was sailing away from port (Baltimore) in a well buoyed channel and with a local pilot apparently aboard. Despite this she seems to have run outside the prescribed route with inevitable consequences. Freeing the ship from the bank in Chesapeake Bay was only accomplished on 17 April, 36 days after she grounded.

Floating the Ever Forward off the bank was only achieved after several vessels, including two barges used to offload much of her cargo of containers, plus five tugs and the benefit of a particularly high tide worked in tandem to free her in what transpired to be quite a complex operation.

Around 500, or 10% of the containers aboard, were discharged via the barges whilst a trough was gouged out by dredging for her to be pulled into. At this point, when she was floating free with sufficient water under her keel, the ballast tanks were flooded to ensure she could pass under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before being examined for possible damage.

Unusually the local Coast Guard, nor in fact the Port Authority, seem to have made any public comment on the incident so it will only be when an investigation into how the ship ended up sailing completely out of the marked channel that the full facts may become known. In the meantime Evergreen thanked salvor Donjon-Smit and the authorities for their help in the matter.

Once the ship’s good condition is confirmed the offloaded containers will be reloaded and the vessel will head out for Norfolk, Virginia, her next scheduled port of call.