A massive 1,100-foot-long container ship has been stuck in the Chesapeake Bay for two weeks as fears increase an oil spill could materialize as salvage crews work to free it from the mud, according to local news WTOP.
Doug Myers, a researcher with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an advocacy group focused on improving water conditions in the Bay, said the container ship "Ever Forward," sailing under the Hong Kong flag for the Evergreen Marine Corp., is "so far aground that about 20 feet of the ship is buried in mud."
"That has a tendency to put stress on the hull, and even though it's not carrying oil, a ship that big would have large amounts of fuel," Myers said.
He warned: "Until the ship is freed, we're concerned that the stress could rupture the hull and cause a fuel leak."
On March 13, the Ever Forward departed from Baltimore for Norfolk when it ran aground outside the shipping channel just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Myers told WTOP that salvage crews are not doing enough to prepare for a potential spill.
"My hope is that there's no damage or stress to the hull that might cause an oil spill, but that's all a big unknown at this point.
The one thing they're doing that did give me some comfort is that every four hours, the ship's crew is doing routine inspections of the fuel tanks to make sure they don't see any leaking oil," he said.
The container ship appears to be fully loaded. If salvage crews can't pull it out -- then unloading next?
Food and other shortages.— DevetraBlueLotus (@jazzydevetra) March 24, 2022
Is it a coincidence that these evergreen shipping vessels keep becoming stuck?
Evergreen ship «SS EverForward» still stuck! 12 thousand containers. They will have to OFFLOAD THE CONTAINERS. What will they find? pic.twitter.com/B70Gsx5uwg
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the US and the third-largest in the world. It's known for the Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, oysters, and rockfish (also known as striped bass).
If salvage crews aren't prepared for an oil spill, any leak could devastate the local wildfire and impact seafood prices from the Bay.
The plan to refloat the massive container ships involves dredging crews and tugboats. So far, efforts have yielded no success. It comes on the one-year anniversary of Evergreen's Ever Given running aground in the Suez Canal.