Massive ship called Ever Forward is stuck in Chesapeake Bay
Despite two failed attempts to free it this week, a sister container ship to the Ever Given that got stuck in the Suez Canal last year has been lodged in the Chesapeake Bay for 21 days — and now cargo holders have to pay to help free it.
Why it matters: The Ever Forward (yes, bask in the irony) is the largest ship to get stuck in the Chesapeake Bay and it’s carrying 5,000 containers of … stuff.
What’s happening: The ship’s owner — Evergreen Marine Corp. — has invoked a maritime law dubbed “General Average,” under which people whose belongings are on a ship must share in the cost of freeing it.
- Evergreen also invoked the law with its ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal for six days in March 2021. It took until September for all the cargo to be released to its owners, and only happened once the cargo owners posted bonds.
- It’s a maritime law whose roots can be traced to at least 1750 B.C. (it was a big deal during the fall of the Roman Empire, too).
- Think of the “General Average” like the aquatic version of prison rules, but for international shipping.
Zoom in: It’s unclear what's in the thousands of containers aboard the Ever Forward, but at least one cargo holder — a Bloomberg journalist who recently moved from Hong Kong to New York — has been sharing her experience waiting on her furniture.
- “The entire contents of our apartment, all of our furniture, lots of books, things of sentimental value are all in a container stuck in the Chesapeake Bay,” Tracy Alloway told NBC Washington.
- The U.S. Coast Guard, which is handling Ever Forward's PR, per the Port of Baltimore, told Axios that "general cargo" is on the ship and referred further questions to Evergreen.
Zoom out: The Ever Forward has been idling near Baltimore, en route to Norfolk, Virginia, since a wrong turn leaving Baltimore on March 13 ran the boat aground in shallow water (24 feet of water — when it needs 42 to float, per NBC Washington.)
- The Ever Forward has been stuck thrice as long as its sister ship sat marooned between the Mediterranean and Red seas last year.
- The ship is not disrupting trade — or blocking passage out of Baltimore Harbor, William Doyle, director of the Port of Baltimore tweeted.
- Tuesday and Wednesday were the first attempts to refloat the boat using tug boats.
- A third attempt will be coming soon, "using two anchored pulling barges from the stern and five tugs,” Doyle wrote on Twitter.
The big picture: You can stay informed on the progress via istheshipstillstuck.com, a website that went viral last year during the Suez fiasco.
- The boat has become a tourist attraction and Downs Park (there’s a $6 entry fee) in Pasadena, Maryland, is apparently the best place to see it.
By the numbers: Comparing giant, stuck container ships.
- The Ever Forward — currently lodged in Baltimore en route to Norfolk, Virginia, for 21 days and counting — 1,095 feet long, 117,340 gross tons. Ran aground due to a wrong turn in the bay.
- The Ever Given — stuck in the Suez Canal for 6 days — 1,312 feet long, weighing in at 224,000 gross tons. Ran aground due to a large wind gust.