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Ever Forward sets out for New York after extended grounding

The container ship Ever Forward, which was grounded for five weeks, on Wednesday sets its course for New York. Evergreen views any speculation on long-term environmental consequences as ”hypothetical.”

Photo: Julio Cortez/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

Vessel Ever Forward has resumed the sailing that stopped on March 13, when the ship ran aground in Chesapeake Bay off Baltimore, Maryland, on the US east coast with approximately 5,000 containers on board.

”Ever Forward has passed safety inspection after the successful refloating operation. In all respects, the status of the vessel can be considered to be ’back to normal,’” writes container line Evergreen in a response to a series of questions from ShippingWatch.

But while things are back to normal on board Ever Forward, there may be a lengthy aftermath following the incident and the costly salvage operation, which did not bring the 334-meter container ship out of Chesapeake Bay’s muddy floor until April 17.

The expenses of the salvage operation could amount to many millions of dollars. According to the carrier, all costs have not been accounted for, and when that happens, the sum will not be made public.

Speculation on environmental impact ”hypothetical”

Maryland authorities have also asked Evergreen to contribute USD 100m to a special fund meant to handle the environmental consequences of the grounding.

The proposal was presented in a letter from Peter Franchot, state comptroller, to Evergreen CEO Benjamin Tsai. In the letter, Franchot expressed his concern over the potential long-term consequences of the grounding for the ecosystem in Chesapeake Bay.

Tsai has replied to the letter, but Evergreen has not publicized the contents. The carrier writes to ShippingWatch:

”We are pleased the outcome of the refloating operation did not result in any discharge or leakage that might have been detrimental to the environment. At present, any speculation regarding the potential influence on the area can only be considered hypothetical.”

At present, any speculation regarding the potential influence on the area can only be considered hypothetical

Evergreen in comment to ShippingWatch

After stopping in Baltimore and in Norfolk, Virginia, Ever Forward on Wednesday heads for New York. Cargo aboard will be discharged at intended ports upon the ship’s arrival, the carrier reports.

The container vessel will then head for the Panama Canal and continue on an almost three-week long voyage across the Pacific Ocean to Chinese port city Xiamen. After further stops in locations such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, the ship will return to North America.

English edit: Jonas Sahl Hollænder

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