BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Plan B is underway. Crews have been working since Saturday to lighten the load of the Ever Forward in another bid to refloat the massive container ship stuck in the Chesapeake Bay. It has been there for four weeks.
The U.S. Coast Guard and coordinating agencies started an operation Saturday to remove exactly 500 containers of its nearly 5,000 container load.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Tornado Watch Canceled For Maryland, Severe Thunderstorm Warning Remains
On Saturday, crews removed 23 pieces of cargo. On Sunday, 21. The Coast Guard said the operation should take two weeks, but that timeline could change for factors like weather.
The offloading happens only during the daytime for safety reasons. Once the containers are removed, tugs and pull barges will attempt another refloat.
The Ever Forward ran aground 24 feet deep into the mud on March 13.
Crews have already had to dig out at least 84,000 cubic yards of mud from around the vessel. The Department of the Environment said that’s about 27 barges worth of mud.READ MORE: Hogan Vetoes 18 Bills, Including Ballot Signature Measure
Two weeks ago, crews made their first refloat attempt after a week of dredging. Five tugboats couldn’t get the ship moving forward, so the next day, they tried seven tugboats. No dice.
The Evergreen Line determined last week that its shareholders would have to proportionately share the losses associated with the Chesapeake Bay debacle under a maritime law known as “general average.”
As of now, the ship has remained stable and shown no signs of pollution, but the Coast Guard and responders are continuing to monitor the ship.
The last time something like this happened was last year a ship owned by the same company, the Ever Given, got stuck and blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt, and that disrupted billions of dollars a day in global trade.
During the Suez fiasco last year, istheshipstillstuck.com, went viral, along with hundreds of Ever Given memes. That website has now been repurposed for the Ever Forward.MORE NEWS: War Of The Words: Governor Hogan And Mayor Scott Spar Over Baltimore Crime