- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MYSTIC, Conn. (AP) - A 19th century ship that sailed the globe hunting whales for their oil for decades has been restored and will sail the New England coast this summer to promote conservation strategies for the animals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday announced a partnership with Mystic Seaport to support the upcoming journey of the Charles W. Morgan. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will work with the museum to develop science and outreach activities around the voyage.

“America’s pursuit of whales is an epic story of global dimensions that shaped the nation’s identity,” said Daniel Basta, director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Today, thanks to pioneering work by sanctuary scientists and others to understand whale behavior, and develop conservation strategies to reduce risks to whales, we’re writing a new chapter based on respect and stewardship for these magnificent creatures of the deep.”

The museum has spent five years restoring the ship, which was built in 1841.

The Morgan is expected to depart June 14 on a trip that will take it to several New England ports as well as the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.

Mystic Seaport President Steve White said the Morgan is an icon with a new purpose.

“She’s no longer an instrument of commerce but a source of education, knowledge, and understanding,” he said.