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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
South Jersey

September 05, 1999

Ship's passage can be monitored on Internet

By Carol Comegno
Courier-Post staff

Anyone in New Jersey oe elsewhere can follow the daily progress of the battleship New Jersey's homeward voyage from the West Coast via the Internet.

State offcials said the ship's transit through the Panama Canal next month, witha s little as eight inches of clearence on each side, also may be shown on the Internet.

The ship's namesake state where it will be ultimatley berthed as apublic memorial is providing daily accounts of the towing of the nearly 900 foot long ship by Crowlet Marine services during its estimates two month 5,9000 mile voyage.

The tow will be ata tortoiselike speed of 6 knots or 7miles an hour. The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has hired the Thomas Boyd Agency of Moorestown to coordinate updates on the ship's progress as well as site events and press coverage of those events in Washington and at the canal.

"We have been told the canal commission will allow us to link to its Web site so people from New Jersey or anywhere may watch it on live video via the Web. If we can accomplish this, we are going to be very excited about that," said Liz Thomas, a co-founder of the agency.

The ship is expected to take several days to transit the canal because it will travel only by day, she said.

Course updates on the Internet are to occur twice daily between 7 and 9 a.m. and again between 7 and 9 p.m. They will be filed by consultant Bob Wernet of Maryland, who also recorded the recent voyage of the battleship USS Missouri from Washington state to Hawaii.

Wernet will be aboard the 149-foot tugboat Sea Voyage that will tow the battleship, which will not sail under power.

Thomas said her firm is coordinating publicity as a "labor of love" with only staff expenses being paid by the state.

"For the past seven years, we've handled other projects for the state such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the new Korean Veterans Memorial. We have a track record of providing services to the state, so Col. (Michael) Warner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs asked us if we could take this on," said Thomas, a former press secretary to Gov. Thomas Kean who was in Panama last week on what she called a "fact-finding mission" for the state.

Thomas also handled publicity for Whitman's inauguration in 1997.

She said the governor is considering a trip to Panama.

"If she does make the trip, we hope to make modifications in the written towing agreement between the state and the Navy to allow the ambassador, the new president of Panama, the chairman of the canal commission and the governor, on board the ship."

That requires a modification to the existing agreement, which now prohibits anyone on board the ship during the voyage, mainly for safety reasons.

If a commemorative event is held on either land or aboard ship, Thomas said it would occur on Oct. 17 in Balboa before the ship enters the canal.

The State's web site is

USS New Jersey Home Page

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