NOAA, Mystic Seaport Announce Partnership on Historic Voyage

MYSTIC, Conn. (March 25, 2014) — NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced today its partnership with Mystic Seaport to support the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. Nearly 100 years after its last whaling voyage, the Morgan will sail across the New England coast this summer to celebrate America’s maritime heritage and the whales that gather in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

The Morgan, a National Historic Landmark built in 1841 and restored to seaworthy status over the past five years, is the flagship of the watercraft collection at Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum located in Mystic, Conn. Over an 80-year whaling career, the Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to the remote corners of the globe, including waters of national marine sanctuaries in California, Hawaii, and American Samoa.

“America’s pursuit of whales is an epic story of global dimensions that shaped the nation’s identity,” said Daniel J. Basta, director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Today, thanks to pioneering work by sanctuary scientists and others to understand whale behavior, and develop conservation strategies to reduce risks to whales, we’re writing a new chapter based on respect and stewardship for these magnificent creatures of the deep.”

During the voyage, NOAA will work with Mystic Seaport and its partners to conduct a series of science and outreach activities around the voyage. The ship’s stop in each port will be accompanied by a dockside exhibit customized for each location. Upon its return to Mystic Seaport, the ship will resume its status as an exhibit at the museum.

“The Charles W. Morgan is an exceptional and truly unique artifact of our shared maritime heritage,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White. “While the ship is an American icon and a living portal into an important chapter of American history, she now embarks on a new journey with transformed purpose. She’s no longer an instrument of commerce but a source of education, knowledge, and understanding.”

The Morgan will depart on June 14 to historic New England ports, including Newport, R.I.; Vineyard Haven, Mass; New Bedford, Mass.; Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Boston, Mass; and back to New London and Mystic with a stop at the Cape Cod Canal to participate in its centennial celebration. The entire voyage is expected to take about seven weeks.

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About Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Designated in 1992, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 842 square miles of ocean, stretching between Cape Ann and Cape Cod offshore of Massachusetts. Renowned for its remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports a rich diversity of marine life, including endangered great whales, seabirds, more than 60 species of fishes and hundreds of marine invertebrates.

The sanctuary is also one of the top whale watching destinations in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Whale watching is a fast growing industry that encourages people to protect whales and their habitats, supports local economies, and provides local employment.

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as trustee for a network of 14 marine protected areas encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

About NOAA

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

About Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $24 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org.