A Long Way to Home

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Here, a religious service is held under one of the USS Iowa's gun batteries. From the Photograph Collection.

Hello, readers! My name is Brian Whitenton, and I’m now writing for The Mariners’ Museum Library blog as well The Mariners’ Museum Connections blog! Yaay!

So as we speak, one of the last remaining World War II battleships – the USS Iowa – is being towed to Los Angeles. Once it arrives, it will be a floating museum similar to the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia.   Fitting, since the USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin are both the same class of battleship (the Iowa class). This class was designed while WW II was raging, but what about the battleships that were already in existence? What about the ones at Pearl Harbor, for example?   Read more

Panama Canal

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The Panama Canal, as sketched by CLinton Havill in July, 1915

Lloyd’s Casualty Week for December 10 just arrived this morning at the library.  Along with the usual information about vessels grounded, stranded, disabled, sunk, captured by pirates, or embroiled in civil unrest or labor disputes, there was an interesting note about the Panama Canal.  Lloyd’s reports that for the first time in 20 years, the Canal has been closed down.  Heavy rains filled up the Gatun and Alhajuela lakes, making the transit through them unsafe and forcing traffic to a halt.  They are expecting a backlog of 60 ships by Friday, and as much as a two-day wait for vessels arriving without a booking. 

This is a bit more than a blip in worldwide sea traffic.  The Canal handles up to 5% of the world’s seaborne commerce, according to Lloyd’s.  The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), through its vice-president Manuel Benitez, says they are “planning to open flood gates to relieve one of the lakes.”   Read more