passage can be monitored on Internet
By Carol Comegno
in New Jersey oe elsewhere can follow the daily progress of the
battleship New Jersey's homeward voyage from the West Coast via
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
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
USS New Jersey Home Page