Sea History 137 - Winter 2011-2012

Page 42

.SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS Mystic Seaport Museum is seeking individuals who witnessed the whaleship Charles W. Morgan's arrival in Mystic, CT, on 8 November 1941. So far, the museum has identified four people, including George White, a member of the museum's board of trustees, and Bob Lane, who was a Sea Scout in 1941 and was onboard when the ship came up the Mystic River. If you were rhere, or if yo u have phoros of rhe event, please conracr rhe museum's Marrhew Srackpole ar 860 572-5365 or by email at marrhew. A National Hisro ric Landmark, the Morgan is in rhe middle of a major resrorarion projecr ro nor o nly srabilize the vessel bur make her

SS Montebello

seaworthy for a highly anricipared voyage back to New Bedford, MA, where she was builr, wirh a derour out ro Stellwagen Bank Narional Marine Sancruary. In orher news at Mysric, rhe museum has announced ir will close ro rhe public for a six-week period this winter, from 2 January ro 15 February. Light visirarion during rhe coldesr weeks of winter has made staying open difficulr ro jusrify. The museum srared rhar rhe closure will allow rhem rime ro plan and prepare rhe museum's exhibits, grounds, and programs for rhe resr of rhe year. Sraff members will continue ro work during the closure alrhough some employees involved with exhibirs will see a reduction in their hours. (75 Greenmanville Ave., Mysric, CT 06355 ; www.mys In October, the US Coast Guard announced that what was feared to be a potential environmental disaster has been averted. This aurumn , an 11-day

Matthew Stackpole (left) and Bob Lane aboard the Charles W. Morgan. Mr. Lane was a Sea Scout onboard the Morgan when she arrived in Mystic in 194 1 as well (above).


mulri-agency expedition was conducred by the Coast Guard, rhe California Deparrmenr of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevenrion and Response, and the Narional Oceanic and Armospheric Adminisrrarion (NOAA) ro determine how much oil might still be crapped onboard a sunken oil ranker off the coasr of cenrral California. On 23 December 1941 , just a few weeks after the arrack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese submarine fired a rorpedo ar rhe ranker SS Montebello, sinking rhe ship in 900 feer of warer. All 38 crewmen survived and made ir safely off rhe vessel, bur more rhan 3 million gallons of crude oil wenr down with the 457-foor ship. The expedirion determined rhar rhe vessel poses no risk because no oil remains in rhe ranks. Whar no one has derermined, however, is whar happened ro the oil. Did ir leak our slowly over rhe lasr 70 years, or did ir happen all at once decades ago with no one noticing? The wreck of the Montebello lies jusr so urh of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which was designared in 1992 and is a federally prorected marine area. SS Mo ntebello was builr in 1921 ar the Southwesrern Shipbuilding Company in San Pedro, CA, for rhe Union Oil Company of California. She made regular runs to H awaii, Siberia, Brirish Columbia, and orher Pacific pons. The 2011 expedition was paid out of rhe Oil Spill Liabiliry Trusr Fund, a tax paid by the oil industry. (More informarion on rhe shipwreck can be found online ar hrrp :// sh ipwreck/ dbase/ montebello_2 .html) ... One of the Royal Navy's largest warships, HMS Albion, has been sent back to HM Naval Base Devonport from the Baltic and will remain in port, on standby, until 2016. The Brirish governmenr's Straregic Defence and Securiry SEA HISTORY 13>7 , WINTER 2011-12