U.S.’ Oldest Commercial Vessel and World’s Last Wooden Whaling Ship to Be Re-Launched

Charles W. Morgan. Photo courtesy Mystic Seaport
Charles W. Morgan. Photo courtesy Mystic Seaport

The United States’ oldest commercial vessel still afloat will be re-launched this weekend on the 172nd anniversary of the vessel’s initial launch.

The ship, the Charles W. Morgan whaleship, has undergone a multi-year, comprehensive restoration in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. 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.

The Charles W. Morgan, now a National Historic Landmark, is the last surviving wooden whaling ship. She was Built in 1841 in New Bedford, MA and had 37 successful voyages throughout her 80-year whaling career before retiring in 1921.

Lead by Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution (S. Res. 183) celebrating the July 21, 2013 re-launch.

“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.”

A total of 22 states contributed materials, funding, expertise, and/or time to the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan.

“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.”

The Charles W. Morgan is anticipated to make her ceremonial 38th voyage in late May 2014 to ports along the New England coast.

“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.”

More information about the launch can be found HERE.

Here’s a video about the restoration: