The state of Maryland has asked the Taiwanese liner Evergreen to set up a “responsibility fund” to cover costs incurred due to the month-long grounding of its Ever Forward vessel in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot mentioned in a letter to Benjamin Tsai, president of Evergreen Shipping Agency (America) Corporation, “While we do not know the full scope of the environmental impact thus far, a 131,420-ton ship, carrying tons of cargo and fuel, getting stuck in our waters undoubtedly has resulted in disruptions to the Bay’s fragile ecosystem.”
Franchot requested that the company establish a $100 million fund to cover environmental and economic costs, particularly for the seafood industry.
“The damage that this incident has already caused – and could potentially continue to cause – will require financial resources to correct,” he said.
“While this may have been a necessary action,” Franchot wrote, “among its potential consequences include damage to oyster beds and disruptions to the spawning season for several species that our seafood industry – already struggling economically due to labor shortages – will harvest in the coming months.”
According to Franchot, money from the fund could be used to compensate workers in the seafood industry who have been impacted, as well as to cover the cost of labor for employees from federal, state, and local agencies involved in refloating the ship.
“The creation of this fund will send a clear message that Evergreen is a good faith actor who understands the environmental and economic damage this incident has caused to the state of Washington,” he said.