BALTIMORE — It was an Easter Sunday miracle! The Ever Forward finally freed from the mud and is now docked in Annapolis.
It took 35 days of work and nearly 500 shipping containers needed to be removed but the ship started floating again around 7 a.m. Sunday.
With the help of high tide, tugboats pulled the ship to an anchorage south of Annapolis.
The ship's hull needs to be inspected to make sure there is no damage. When given the all-clear, the ship will make it's way to the Port of Baltimore to reload the 500 containers removed during the refloat mission. It will then head to to the port in Norfolk, Virginia.
That was where the ship was heading when it got stuck on March 13.
For weeks dredging boats dug up mud trying to get the ship out.
After two failed re-floating attempts on March 29 and 30, crews determined they needed to off-load some of the cargo to make the ship lighter.
From April 9 to April 16, 500 shipping containers were removed using crane barges and then brought to the Port of Baltimore.
"The vastness and complexity of this response were historic, as an incident like the Ever Forward grounding, in type and duration, is a rare occurrence," said Capt. David O'Connell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region.
"It was the collaboration of each responding agency, Evergreen Marine Corporation, and dedicated responders resulted in the successful refloating of Ever Forward while ensuring the safety of the public and response personnel, mitigating pollution potential, and minimizing economic impacts."
The licensee, Donjon-SMIT, is required to assess the dredge and vessel grounding area for impacts to a natural oyster bar in the area, provide a report to the Maryland Department of the Environment after the vessel is removed, and then develop a plan for any mitigation required for impacts to that oyster bar in the area.
In a corporate statement, Evergreen Line representatives stated, "We are deeply appreciative of the efforts put forth by the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Port Administration, local and federal Environmental Protection Agencies, and the many private service providers that were engaged, all of whom worked tirelessly to bring this event to a successful conclusion."
Evergreen also owns the Ever Given. That ship ran aground in the Suez Canal blocking that channel for 6 days last year.