Lack of Situational Awareness Led to Ever Forward Grounding -USCG

December 6, 2022

The U.S. Coast Guard cited the pilot’s failure to maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating, as well as inadequate bridge resource management as factors that led to the grounding of the 1,095-foot containership Ever Forward in the Craighill Channel earlier this year.

The Hong Kong flagged box ship grounded in the Chesapeake Bay on March 13 while transiting with 4,964 containers aboard, en route from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Va. The incident set in motion a complex salvage program that lasted more than a month and included dredging and towing operations to eventually free the Ever Forward on April 17.

File photo: A Coast Guard response crew monitors the 1,095-foot motor vessel Ever Forward, which became grounded in the Chesapeake Bay, March 13, 2022. (Photo: Kimberly Reaves / U.S. Coast Guard)
File photo: A Coast Guard response crew monitors the 1,095-foot motor vessel Ever Forward, which became grounded in the Chesapeake Bay, March 13, 2022. (Photo: Kimberly Reaves / U.S. Coast Guard)

Immediately following the incident, 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. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region completed its marine casualty investigation on Tuesday.

Based on its findings, 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 (Distracted Operations and Bridge Resource Management) and has made them publicly available at the Coast Guard’s Inspections and Compliance Findings of Concern webpage.

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.

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