Journal Entry  -  October 25, 1999  -  Day 44

Monday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time

16 Degrees, 03 Minutes North


80 Degrees, 42 Minutes West

Days Run:

39.6 Nautical Miles


3.3 Knots (Average)  running to meet a fixed ETA.

Total Run This Leg:  401.2 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  4.35 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  92.3 Hours / 3.84 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,695.3 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  3:00 p.m., Saturday, November 6, Cape Henlopen Sea Buoy, at the mouth of the Delaware River.
Present Course:  335 Degrees North-Northwesterly
Winds:  Northerly 20 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined 10 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1013 Millibars
Air Temperature:  82 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  82 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Broken Overcast
Sea Floor:  Ocean depths beneath the USS New Jersey at this point are 805 Meters, or 2,640 Feet.

Panama Canal Transit:  October 16 - 21 / Balboa Pier 14 - 15, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, the Gaillard Cut, Gamboa, Lake Gatun, and the Gatun Locks, and Cristobal.  USS New Jersey's clearance into the Caribbean Sea / Atlantic Ocean was completed at 11:34 a.m., and her mark for the commencement of the Cristobal, Panama - Philadelphia, PA Third Leg was passed at 11:42 a.m., Thursday, October 21.

Distance Of Second Leg:   September 21 - October 15 / Long Beach, CA to Balboa Anchorage, Panama: 2,948.7 Nautical Miles, the longest leg of New Jersey's homecoming voyage.
Total Average Speed Second Leg:  5.18 Knots

Distance Of First Leg:  September 12 - 21 / Bremerton, WA to Long Beach, CA: 1,193.6 Nautical Miles from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach, CA anchorage.
Total Average Speed First Leg:  5.54 Knots

Position:  The USS New Jersey continues to run through the Northwestern Caribbean Sea toward the Gulf of Mexico to assume a favorable assist from the Gulf Stream.  She is now passing comfortably to the West of Rosalind Bank, proceeding along a new North-Northwesterly trackline, a pre-designed course change executed by Captain Ogaard at 7:20 a.m. this morning

Corrections:  Last night's reference to the Sea Victory's Mike Poirier should have identified him as the 2nd Mate; and, Crowley tow wire specialist, Bryan Ward's first name is not Byron.

New Jersey's Outfitting Long Ago Pays Off Big

From Sunday, September 12 in Bremerton onward, each time the USS New Jersey left a dock, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, or berthed at a dock, Balboa, Cristobal (and Philadelphia), or anchored to approach or layover for a Pamana Canal Lock - Miraflores and Pedro Miguel, her outfitters, riggers, handlers, towboaters and linemen had to assemble or re-assemble all the tons of chain, shackles, line, connectors and assembly paraphernalia required to keep her safe under tow, moored or at anchor with Sea Victory.

No small feat.

As mentioned last night, all this preparatory work was done in Bremerton, under U.S. Navy supervision, weeks and even months before departure.   The execution of each docking, mooring, Canal Lock transit, or dock departure depended on the rigging done back then.

The Crowley specialists responsible for all this won't breathe easily until the "Big J" is delivered to her Philadelphia berth next month, but so far any observer could tell that her successful passage through the six chambers and three Locks of the Panama Canal have brought secret smiles to the faces of the team members involved.

Crowley's formal Tow Plan, and its outfitting and rigging sections, presented to the Navy and the state of New Jersey, refer to many of the elements required of such a voyage.

Speaking of the Bremerton work, it says: "There is ample room for a crane barge to work the starboard side of the New Jersey to rig the tow gear."  The outfitter of the ship, American Marine Corporation, worked closely with Crowley, the Navy, Marine Surveyors, the Salvage Association, and Bremerton Naval custodians to assure cooperation and timely completion of the arduous, precision work.

Here is an example:  "Both 3-3/8 Battleship anchor chains are in chain lockers.  The port 15-ton (30,000 pound) anchor is secured in the hawse pipe for emergency use."

In another reference, "The starboard anchor has been removed and is secured on the after deck.  All hull protrusions have been removed and the hull is "smooth-sided" for the transit through the Panama Canal locks as approved by the Panama Canal Commission representative, Arcelio Hartley, Operations Manager..

Other detailed references to the labor-intensive, painstaking, precise, and expert workmanship involved in just getting her ready, not to mention the 6,370 Nautical Mile Final Voyage - "360 feet of 3-3/8 anchor chain will be pulled out of the starboard chain locker and be lead through the center tow chock on the bow.  90 Feet will lead from the wildcat to the bullnose and 270 Feet will be outboard of the bullnose and stopped off in bights with heavy deck lines secured to the forecastle deck bitts."

"The bitter end of the chain will be approximately 3 Feet above the water to facilitate the Sea Victory tow connection.  The chain is secured to the 3 centerline padeyes with the ship's three 3/8-inch chain stopper system and tended around the wildcat with the break set.  Several turns of 3/4-inch preventer wires back up the chain stopper system at the wildcat."

"Normal running lights with solar powered batteries and tow day shape for the dead ship tow are installed where best seen by traffic.   Anchor lights and day shapes are provided for use during fuel stops (Long Beach and Balboa).  A portable generator for lighting will be installed with sufficient amperage to illuminate the port side and bow and stern while transiting the Canal."

The report notes that many Battleship compartments below the waterline will be secured, "flooding alarm sensors with lights" will be installed in several below deck compartments to ensure buoyancy for the tow. Propeller shafts were locked, both rudders were locked with a dual locking system and secured according to specifications.

In addition, the Panama Canal Commission added some additional requirements for passage.  "Because there will be the need to connect and disconnect from the tow several times during the transit of the vessel, we will require that some more convenient tow bridle be attached to allow for this by either PCC tugs or the Sea Victory," wrote the Canal's operations Captain.

He also noted that "some 30 deckhands would be aboard the New Jersey to handle wires at the locks, and lines at the moorings, requiring suitable sanitary facilities and some sheltered areas to offer protection from the elements."

Finally, included in this report are six pages of detailed preparation questions required to be fulfilled physically aboard the ship before the U.S. Navy towing manual would be satisfied, and the ship's Final Voyage allowed to proceed.

Just another few months work at the office for these guys.  Get her ready for the Sea Victory, and then let the seamen do their thing.   They're called the "Battleship Experts," and the USS Missouri and USS New Jersey custodians appreciate their know-how.  It's a pleasure to watch them do their thing.  It's even a privilege.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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