Huge container ship stuck in Chesapeake Bay to be unloaded

Rush Hour

(NewsNation) — It’s been more than three weeks since a massive cargo ship ran aground in Chesapeake Bay and now it will have to be unloaded, the U.S. Coast Guard says.

The revised strategy to refloat Ever Forward comes after multiple failed attempts to dredge around the ship and dislodge it with tugboats.

The ship, which is operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corp, was headed from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia when it ran aground March 13.

Now, officials will unload the cargo ship over the course of two weeks and try to move it without the containers onboard.

In order to do that, the Coast Guard will have to install two crane barges that are tall enough to remove the stacked containers. Once that job is complete, the tugboats and pull barges will again attempt to refloat the ship.

Evergreen Marine Corp. has invoked a principle of maritime law known as “General Average,” which means the owners of the containers onboard the Ever Forward will have to share in the cost of the undertaking.

It’s the second time in recent memory that an Evergreen-operated cargo ship has been stuck in a tough spot. Last year, the Ever Given blocked the entire Suez Canal, disrupting the global supply chain for days.

But unlike the Ever Given, its sister vessel in Chesapeake Bay is not blocking vital trade routes.

The ongoing debacle has turned into something of a spectacle as nearby onlookers watch the drama unfold.

“I’ve been fascinated. I wanted to see the actual size of it but also how we depend on other countries with our supplies and our needs. I think we actually take a lot of it for granted,” said Sophia McDowell, who’s been watching the cargo ship.

It’s unclear what caused the ship to run aground, although reports suggest the crew made a wrong turn just outside of a channel that would have allowed it to continue on.

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