A Year After Suez Blockage, Another Evergreen Ship Is Mired in the Chesapeake

A container ship operated by the same company whose vessel blocked the Suez Canal last year, holding up billions of dollars in global trade for nearly a week, has been stuck in the Chesapeake Bay since Sunday night, according to officials in Maryland.

The 1,095-foot Ever Forward was on its way to Norfolk, Va., from Baltimore when it ran aground in the bay near the Craighill Channel, said Petty Officer Third Class Breanna Centeno, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

A salvage team, Naval architects and divers were working to free the ship, William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, said in a statement. The Coast Guard is leading the salvage efforts, he said.

There were no injuries and no “pollution-related spills,” Mr. Doyle said. Petty Officer Centeno said the ship was not carrying hazardous materials.

The ship became nearly a year after the Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, ran aground in the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021, blocking a channel that is believed to handle about 10 percent of global commercial maritime traffic.

It took six days to free the ship and by then, 367 vessels were waiting to pass through the canal, which serves as a vital channel linking the factories of Asia to affluent customers in Europe, as well as a major conduit for oil. The episode was a disaster for the shipping industry, damming up worldwide shipping and freezing nearly $10 billion in trade a day.

The mishap involving the Ever Forward, which, like the Ever Given, is operated by Evergreen Marine Corp., appeared to be far less catastrophic, according to the authorities in Maryland.

“The ship’s grounding has not prevented other ships from transiting into or out of the Port of Baltimore,” Mr. Doyle said. “Business and commerce related activities at the Port of Baltimore continue as normal.”

Still, the ship ran aground at a time when global supply chains remain in upheaval because of the coronavirus pandemic. The timing also gave rise to a fresh round of jokes on the internet, which last year reveled in the Ever Given’s travails.

“March is International Evergreen Marine Corp Container Ship Runs Aground Month,” one Twitter user wrote. “What are you doing to celebrate?”

Evergreen Marine Corp. did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The alert from the Ever Forward came in at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Petty Officer Centeno said. The ship had departed from Baltimore that day and was supposed to arrive in Virginia on Thursday, according to the vessel’s schedule.

The Coast Guard said it had not determined how the Ever Forward became stuck.

“Once the vessel is refloated,” Petty Officer Centeno said, “we’ll investigate the cause.”