United States' Oldest Commercial Vessel to be Relaunched

Published Jul 19, 2013 10:31 AM by The Maritime Executive

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) applauded Senate passage of S. Res. 183 – a resolution commemorating the re-launch of the 172-year-old Charles W. Morgan whaleship, the world’s last remaining wooden whaleship and the United States’ oldest commercial vessel. The ship, no longer a hunter of whales, will be launched from Mystic Seaport on July 21, and has been recast as a living example of the importance of species conservation, U.S. maritime heritage, and the enduring American will to succeed.

The ship has undergone a multi-year, comprehensive restoration in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. The project, which began in November 2008, renewed areas of the vessel from the waterline down to her keel and also addressed the bow and stern. On July 21, the 172nd anniversary of the vessel’s initial launch, she will be launched again.

“I am overjoyed by the restoration and re-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 Morgan’s launch ceremony on Sunday.”

“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.”

“We appreciate the honor the U.S. Senate has bestowed on the Charles W. Morgan,” Steve White, the President of Mystic Seaport, said.“The ship is truly a national icon that represents the spirit of American enterprise and an important chapter in our country’s history. Her restoration has been the result of nationwide support, and we are excited to take her back to sea next year so she can share her story of adventure, industry, and the importance of conservation with all Americans.”

Connecticut and twenty-one other states contributed materials, funding, expertise, or time to the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan. Connecticut’s Trowbridge Lumber and Thompson Sawmill contributed White Oak and Black Locust wood, which were used for framing and tunnels within the ship. A list of materials contributed by other states can be found here. The following U.S. Senators co-sponsored the resolution: Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).