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Captain sought for 19th century whaling ship

MYSTIC, Conn. — Only experienced mariners need apply.

Mystic Seaport is looking for the first captain in more than 90 years for the historic whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan. The Connecticut maritime museum has been restoring the 172-year-old wooden ship, preparing it to sail across New England next summer.

The Day of New London reports seaport officials said job candidates must be experienced mariners and also be comfortable with the public because of the media attention and crowds the ship will attract during its three-month trip.

“They have to be absolutely qualified to manage this artifact, which has national and international importance,” said Dana Hewson, the museum’s vice president for Watercraft Preservation and Programs. “They also have to embrace the role of the public nature of this endeavor.”

Applicants must have a 500-ton Near Coastal Master license and 10 years of command experience on traditional sailing vessels with extensive knowledge in square-rig sailing. The job could require the captain to work with the media, passengers and governors of the states the ship is visiting.

Qualifications limit the size of the pool of candidates, Hewson said.

“It’s a relatively small world, so it’s certainly been known in the field that we’d be doing this,” he said.

The Morgan’s last voyage ended in 1921 and is the world’s only surviving wooden whaling ship.

The ship, which was launched by Mystic Seaport in July, will visit ports in Boston, New Bedford, New London, Newport and Provincetown next year. Organizers and scientists say one of its most important destinations will be Stellwagen Bank off Boston, which had been a hunting ground for whales and is now a refuge.

The Morgan will sail with a mission to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting the oceans and its species and of whale watching as a sustainable business.

Hewson said the museum hopes to announce the new captain in the next two or three months. The captain will be involved in the fitting out of the ship next spring and the job will end once the voyage is completed in August 2014.

Mystic Seaport would not disclose the salary.



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