Rescue plan designed for Ever Forward in Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE (AP) — There’s now a plan to refloat a cargo ship that’s been stranded in the Chesapeake Bay for days, the ship’s operator said Friday.

Salvor Donjon Smit has conducted underwater inspections of the 1,095-foot (334-meter) Ever Forward and a rescue team can put the refloating plan in motion, but first authorities must approve it, Evergreen said in a statement Friday.

The plan involves releasing ballast to lighten the load, dredging the bay’s muddy floor around the ship and making space between the propeller and rudder and the seabed, Evergreen said.

The rescue team is mobilizing all available local tugboats to join the operation. Once enough mud is removed and the ship is lighter, the team will work to refloat the ship at high tide using the power of the tugboats and the ship’s main engine, Evergreen said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is partnering with at least four other government agencies “to ensure that the Ever Forward’s refloating plan maintains the safety of those on and around the ship as well as the safety of the marine environment,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Breanna Centeno said in an email.

The Ever Forward was headed from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, when it ran aground Sunday night north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The ship operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corp. went aground outside the main navigation corridor, the Craighill Channel, and officials said there were no reports of injuries, damage or pollution.

The Coast Guard has said officials have not yet determined what caused the Ever Forward to run aground. It is not blocking any navigation, unlike its sister vessel, the Ever Given, which caused global supply-chain problems when it blocked traffic for days in the Suez Canal nearly a year ago.

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