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Maryland suspends license of ship captain who grounded Ever Forward on the Chesapeake

Coast Guard says pilot was on phone leading up to grounding
Posted at 10:52 AM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 09:28:14-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland has suspended the license of a ship captain who grounded the Ever Forward earlier this year on the Chesapeake Bay.

“After thorough review of evidence and expert analysis in the investigation of the March 13, 2022 grounding of the MV Ever Forward, the Maryland Board of Pilots, in a unanimous decision, voted to summarily suspend the operating license of Captain Steven Germac on October 20, 2022, and formally notified Captain Germac by letter dated October 21, 2022,” the Maryland Department of Labor said in a Tuesday press release.

The 1,095-foot container ship was sailing to Norfolk, Virginia from the Port of Baltimore when it became grounded in the Craighill Channel.

Ever Forward remains stuck in Chesapeake Bay

It wasn't until 35 days later the the ship would finally be free.

Crews worked hours upon hours digging the vessel out of 43 feet of mud, failing on multiple occasions to get the ship moving. Then they were tasked with removing more than 500 containers from the ship to get it back afloat.

RELATED:Ever Forward freed from the mud and towed to Annapolis after being stuck for 35 days

Germac will have the opportunity request a follow-up hearing, challenging the board’s decision to suspend his license.

News of his suspension comes on the same day the U.S. Coast Guard publicly released a redacted investigative report into the incident.

Without mentioning Germac by name, the report concluded the pilot failed to "maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating."

More specifically investigators revealed the pilot "placed and received numerous calls, texted messages, and draft emails on their personal cell phone right up until the incident."

Additionally investigators say the pilot admitted to relying solely on a Portable Pilot Unit (PPU) for navigation, and was watching playback of a previous transit at the time of the incident.


To avoid a similar situation in the future, the Coast Guard recommended the development and implementation of "effective operational policies outlining when the use of cellular telephones and other devices is appropriate or prohibited."

The Coast Guard also suggests that "PPU users receive comprehensive training on devices and software functionality," and how to properly integrate them into a "complete bridge resource management philosophy."

According to the State Department of Labor, Germac has not operated a commercial vessel since the Ever Forward was grounded.

The ship is owned by Evergreen Marine Corp., which also owns the Ever Given vessel that got stuck in the Suez Canal for a week last year, causing massive problems for global shipping.

Traffic was not severely impacted in the Ever Forward's case.