Journal Entry  -  October 5, 1999  -  Day 24

Tuesday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Mountain Daylight Time

14 Degrees, 46 Minutes North


97 Degrees, 17 Minutes West

Days Run:

60.1 Nautical Miles


5.01 Knots (Average)  running at reduced speed due to a fixed ETA of October 16 at the Panama Canal.

Total Run This Leg:  1,697.4 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.23 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  324.5 Hours, 13.52 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,250.4 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  7:00 a.m., Saturday, October 16
Present Course:  117 Degrees, Southeasterly
Winds:  Northeast at 5 Knots
Seas:  Rippled Surface
Swells:  7 Feet from the West Southwest
Barometric Pressure:  1009 Millibars
Air Temperature:  76 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  80.5 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Overcast with Showers
Sea Floor:  Ocean depths below USS New Jersey in this area range from 900 and 1,850 to 1,925 Fathoms, or from 5,400 and 11,100 to 11,550 Feet

Position:  USS New Jersey is now passing 62 Nautical Miles South of Punta de Rocas.  From this coastal point, for 15 Miles Eastward, is a sandy beach which then rises abruptly to a series of high bluffs into Bahia de Puerto Angel, a small harbor providing shelter from November to May to small craft with local knowledge.

USS New Jersey Stuck In Canal For One Hour, 1953

The Navy Times Newspaper, on November 9, 1953, published the following story about the Battleship's Panama Canal transit that month on her way from Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California.

The article was provided courtesy of 1st Sergeant Roger Lockwood, USMC, who served aboard the "Jersey Bounce" with the ship's Marine Detachment, for two years during the Korean conflict.  Now retired and living in Minnesota, Lockwood, 80, will reflect on his experience with the ship and her crew in a future report.

"The Navy Times, Panama Canal Zone, November 9, 1953"

"The 45,000 ton United States Battleship New Jersey got stuck in the entrance to Miraflores Locks today shortly after starting the Northbound transit of the Panama Canal.  It was about an hour before she could get clear."

"The bow of the big Battleship was well over the lock sill when she became fast.  Neither electric towing locomotives nor her own power could move her forward.  Water was finally spilled into Miraflores Lake to raise the water level before the big Battleship could back off."

"Canal officials said the area would be swept tomorrow to determine if silt was the cause.  The Battleship has one foot clearance on either side of the locks, and a maximum draft of 38 Feet, which could give it a 3 Foot clearance."

"Officials said there was no apparent damage to the ship or lock."

Lockwood was aboard the ship when she stuck that year, and said there was really no concern from either the Captain of the ship or any of the ship's officers.

"They knew the ship would be cleared," he said in an interview.  "I do remember looking over the side of the ship and seeing the side of the deck scrape the edges of the Canal lock.  Then, when they pulled the ship into the lake, it had to be all scraped off and painted so it would be all ready for display when we got to the west coast," Lockwood recalled.

He had been through the Canal previously, without incident.

"The first time going through?  Well, there wasn't much except sightseeing," he said.  "I think it was a wonderful experience seeing how the locks were filled, and the ship raised step-by-step to reach the other side into the lake, and then leaving and going up to San Diego.  I was just amazed at seeing something like that," he said.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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