Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine has agreed to hand over $676,200 to the US state of Maryland following the grounding of a container ship last March.

Salvage work to free the 12,118-teu Ever Forward (built 2020) 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 licence requiring Evergreen to pay the cash 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 (0.4 hectares) of seabed, 11.5 acres of which were in a natural oyster bay.

A total of 41 acres will be reseeded.

Evergreen said in a statement that since the incident, it has been “closely working with concerned authorities in an effort to evaluate and mitigate the impact of the refloating operation on the surrounding area.”

“Contrary to some recent press accounts, the agreement to fund this effort is not due to any sort of fine levied against Evergreen,” the company added.

And the owner said preservation of the environment is a cornerstone of its core values.

In December, a pilot was found at fault for the grounding, according to an investigation by the US Coast Guard.

A unified command consisting of the coast guard, salvor Donjon-Smit and incident commander Witt O’Brien 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 “inadequate bridge resource management”.

In April, TradeWinds reported that Maryland was preparing to discuss compensation of at least $100m.

By comparison, the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt demanded $900m in compensation following the grounding of Evergreen’s 20,388-teu Ever Given (built 2018) in March 2021. The figure was substantially negotiated down.