U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-NCR issued this marine safety information bulletin on March 27 regarding the Ever Forward which ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay east of Craighill Channel on March 13, 2022.
Notice is hereby given of the establishment of the temporary safety zone, under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, Title 46 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 70034, which allows the Coast Guard to take such actions. As described in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 165.T05-0750, the Coast Guard established a temporary safety zone upon certain waters of the Chesapeake Bay. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of persons and the marine environment from the potential hazards associated with the damage assessment, dredging, and salvage operations related to the grounded container ship Ever Forward, through 9 p.m. on April 13, 2022. This safety zone includes all navigable waters of the Chesapeake Bay, within a 500-yard radius of the Ever Forward.
The 1102-foot Hong Kong-flagged vessel Ever Forward went aground east of the Craighill Channel on March 13, 2022. The duration of the zone is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in these navigable waters while salvage operations are being conducted. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the Captain of the Port (COTP) or a designated representative. The COTP is currently issuing a Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM) via VHF-FM marine channel 16 that allows transit through the safety zone for one-way traffic at a reduced safe speed but is subject to change for particular portions of the salvage evolution. Mariners are requested to monitor the VHF channel 16 for the latest information. The safety zone will be enforced through 9 p.m. on April 13, 2022.
The complete rulemaking docket for this temporary safety zone regulation can be found by visiting regulations.gov and search for docket number USCG-2021-0750 in the search bar. Definitions used in this regulation include:
- Captain of the Port (COTP) means the Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-NCR.
- Designated Representative means any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port (COTP) Maryland-National Capital Region in the enforcement of the safety zone.
Penalty: Vessels or persons violating safety zone regulations are subject to the penalties set forth in 46 U.S.C. § 70036 and 46 U.S.C. § 70052.
Dredging Operations: Dredging is scheduled to continue March 27-31 at the stern of the M/V Ever Forward and along the starboard side but outside the federal channel.
Salvage Operations: An initial attempt to refloat the Ever Forward will occur on Tuesday March 29, 2022. This effort will involve five tugs configured as indicated in the diagram. The COTP allowance for one-way traffic at a reduced safe speed through the safety zone will cease at approximately 12 p.m. on March 29, 2022. At this time, the safety zone will increase to 1000 yards around the Ever Forward during these critical operations. The public should anticipate one-way traffic to resume at midnight or at the discretion of the COTP following the evolution. Mariners are to use extreme caution when transiting in the vicinity and abide by the Safety Zone and any allowances by the COTP advertised in the BNM via VHF-FM marine channel 16. The rulemaking docket for the 1000 yard safety zone enforced during this evolution is USCG-2022-0236.
If the above described evolution is unsuccessful, a second attempt to refloat the M/V Ever Forward will occur on or about April 3-4, 2022. This effort will involve two anchored pulling barges and five tugs configured as indicated in the diagram. The pulling barges will remain out of the channel but will be pre-positioning themselves as early as Friday April 1, 2022. As with the previously described pulling evolution, the COTP intends to cease all traffic through the zone, which will also be 1000 yards around the Ever Forward. More information on this evolution will be provided via another update to this MSIB and through the issuance of BNMs.
If neither of these evolutions are successful, the removal of containers will need to be initiated and an update to this MSIB will be made to inform the maritime community of the additional waterway restrictions for this evolution.
If you have any questions regarding the contents of this bulletin, please contact the Waterways Management Division staff at (410) 576-2519 or 2674, or via email at [email protected].