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Evergreen Marine declares General Average on grounding of containership in Chesapeake Bay 

Evergreen Marine, the owner of the stuck 12,000-TEU Ever Forward, today declared General Average following two unsuccessful attempts with five tugboats to refloat the ship in Chesapeake Bay.

In a statement, Evergreen said GA has been declared “in light of the increasing costs arising from the continued attempts to refloat the vessel.”

The next procedure is expected to involve emptying the vessel of many containers before returning tugboats into action.

General Average is a principle of maritime law that essentially establishes that all sea cargo stakeholders (owner, shipper, etc.) evenly share any damage or losses that may occur as a result of voluntary sacrifice of part of the vessel or cargo to save the whole in an emergency.

The basis behind this principle is that a party who has suffered extreme financial loss in order to save property belonging to others has the right to be compensated for such loss. The origins of General Average date back to the York-Antwerp Rules of 1890, but have obviously been modified numerous times since to adapt to modern supply chain conditions, most recently in 2004.  

Evergreen had also declared General Average following the grounding of the giant 20,000-TEU Ever Given in the Suez Canal in March 2021, blocking the waterway for six days.

Ever Forward ran aground on March 13 outside the Craighill shipping channel in Chesapeake Bay as it departed the Port of Baltimore with a pilot on board. AIS showed that the ship was travelling at about 13 knots when it exited the dredged channel and came to a sudden stop in about 25 feet of water. Its draft was reported to be 13 meters (42.6 feet). (Photo courtesy of Maritime Innovation Safety Lab)