How Ever Forward got stuck in the mud

Published on December 6th, 2022

The Chesapeake Bay sailing community were mildly entertained when the 1,095-foot container ship grounded near Craighill Channel, and was finally refloated following a 35-day-long salvage operation.

The Ever Forward, a Hong-Kong flagged container ship, had departed Baltimore March 13 when it ran aground in a well-traveled area. The accident prompted the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region to initiate an investigation with the findings now revealed.

Shocker… the pilot screwed up, with the report confirming why the Maryland Board of Pilots voted unanimously in October to suspend his operating license. Not so much that it mattered as he had not piloted a commercial vessel since the day the ship ran aground.

Here’s the findings:

The Report of the Investigation determined the incident’s causal factors to be the pilot’s failure to maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating, and inadequate bridge resource management.

Immediately following the grounding, Coast Guard marine investigators began the investigation to determine the factors that led to the Ever Forward grounding and develop recommendations to prevent similar marine incidents from happening in the future.

Based on the finding of facts, the Coast Guard is recommending that marine operators develop and implement effective policies outlining when the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices is appropriate or prohibited, and that vessel owners and operators ensure and promote crew awareness of policies regarding the duties and obligations of officers on watch for the safety of the ship, even when a pilot is embarked.

A redacted copy of the Report of the Investigation is available to the public and posted on Marine Casualty Reports for easy accessibility, while complying with the provisions of the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and associated federal regulations.

Access to the full investigation and evidence will be available through the FOIA process.

The Coast Guard has published two Findings of Concern and has made them publicly available at the Coast Guard’s Inspections and Compliance Findings of Concern webpage. The purpose of Findings of Concern is to share information related to unsafe conditions to the public, state, or local agencies.

The Coast Guard was the lead agency for all evidence collection activities involving the investigation. The Maryland Department of Labor, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, conducted an independent investigation, with access to evidence collected by the Coast Guard.

The 1,095-foot Ever Forward, a Hong Kong flagged container ship, grounded in the Chesapeake Bay on March 13 while transiting, with 4,964 containers aboard, from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia.

Under a Unified Command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Evergreen Marine Corporation, a comprehensive salvage plan to free the ship was developed and implemented, including dredging and towing operations, which freed the Ever Forward on Sunday, April 17, 2022.

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