Measure Recognizes National Importance of Historic Whaleship’s Launch July 21
Mystic, Conn. – Today the United States Senate passed a resolution celebrating the July 21, 2013 launch of the Charles W. Morgan, the second oldest vessel in the United States and the world’s last remaining wooden whaling vessel. Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy led the resolution in the Senate. Following a nearly five-year, multimillion dollar restoration, the Morgan will be launched on Sunday in preparation for her first sail in over 80 years. In the summer of 2014, the Morgan will embark on her 38th Voyage to ports of call up-and-down the New England coast. The July 21 launch is a critical milestone in this ambitious and world-class endeavor.
“I am overjoyed by the restoration and launch of the Charles W. Morgan,” Blumenthal said. “Through the partnership and cooperation of many organizations across multiple states, we are able to preserve a National Historic Landmark for current and future generations to enjoy, and set sail a living testament to the American ethos of hard work and perseverance. I look forward to attending the Charles W. Morgan’s launch ceremony.”
“Senator Blumenthal and I are proud to honor the Charles W. Morgan whaleship with this Senate resolution,” Murphy said. “The Morgan is an important part of Connecticut’s historic whaling industry, and I’m so grateful to Mystic Seaport for its impressive restoration work to help preserve the last remaining wooden whaleship in the world. I’m also thrilled that the Morgan’s voyage next year–a collaborative effort between 22 states–will focus on raising awareness on environmental protection, and bringing attention to how we can protect our planet’s whale population. I can’t wait for the voyage to begin, and I’ll support its educational efforts along the way.”
Organizations in more than 22 states have contributed labor, materials, and expertise to the Morganrestoration making her 38th Voyage a remarkable national achievement. As an example of the scope of contributions to the Morgan’s restoration, families in Biloxi, MS, donated 200-year-old live oak trees felled in Hurricane Katrina as a way to continue the legacy of these famous trees. Other states are hosting satellite exhibits or have built smaller whaleboats to accompany the Morgan. Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation explained, “The excitement generated by the Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage is a testament to the power of history to engage and inspire us. It demonstrates the value of saving the tangible fabric of our shared experience and revitalizing it for contemporary times and new uses.”
The 172-year-old ship is a National Historic Landmark and an icon for the maritime heritage community. David McCullough, renowned historian and author, added, “The Charles W. Morgan is one of America’s greatest treasures. To explore the Morgan is to experience our country’s maritime past in a way no book or lecture can ever hope to match.”
Whereas the Morgan was once a renowned whaler, her 38th Voyage will recast her as a scientific and educational vessel. “Whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries ultimately proved unsustainable economically as well as for whales as a species,” said Daniel J. Basta, Director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. One of the Morgan’s most important destinations will be Stellwagen Bank off of Boston, once a hunting ground and now refuge for whales. “Sailing through Stellwagen’s waters is key,” said Basta. “The Morgan will sail again, now with a mission to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting our nation’s oceans and its species, and of whale watching as a sustainable business.”
Steve White, President of Mystic Seaport, thanked the Senators for their efforts, saying, “We are grateful to our representatives in the United States Senate for recognizing the importance of the Morgan’s restoration and 38th Voyage to the State of Connecticut, to the nation, and to the world. Mystic Seaport is grateful to our partners in the 22 states who have and continue to make essential contributions to the success of this endeavor.”