Taiwanese shipping giant Evergreen Marine has been ordered to hand over $676,200 (€642,000) to the US state of Maryland following the grounding of a container ship last March.
Salvage work to free the container ship Ever Forward damaged oyster beds in Chesapeake Bay after the vessel failed to make a right turn in Craighill Channel.
The Maryland Board of Public Works has now approved a wetlands license requiring Evergreen to pay the money to the Department of Natural Resources to help reseed and enhance the beds.
“The seeding of oyster bars will contribute to an improved aquatic habitat and provide long-term water benefits,” said deputy environment secretary Suzanne Dorsey.
She said the department has been “on the job” from the moment of the grounding to ensure that the bay habitat is protected.
Damage caused by dredging work to free the ship affected 14 acres of seabed, 11.5 acres of which were in a natural oyster bay. A total of 41 acres will be reseeded.
In December, a pilot was found at fault for the grounding, according to an investigation conducted by the US Coast Guard.
It took five weeks to free the vessel by dredging around it and removing containers.
The investigation determined that the grounding occurred due to the pilot’s “failure to maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating” and conduct of “inadequate bridge resource management."
In April, IntraFish sister publication TradeWinds reported that Maryland was preparing to discuss compensation of at least $100 million (€95 million).
By comparison, the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt demanded $900 million (€850 million) in compensation following the grounding of Evergreen’s Ever Given in March 2021. The figure was substantially negotiated down.