Future USS Michael Monsoor Makes Panama Canal Transit For First Time

The U.S. Navy’s second Zumwalt-class stealth guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) made its way through the Panama Canal for the first time in her history, successfully navigating the 50-mile long waterway Nov. 28.

“For many Sailors, this was their first transit of these waters, but Panama has seen every new class of warship that the United States has built and have been witness to our transition from sail to steam to silence – represented by Michael Monsoor’s electric propulsion plant,” said Capt. Scott Smith, Michael Monsoor’s commanding officer. “It was a day where a great feat of engineering transited another engineering marvel and both are a testament to the human spirit.”

Michael Monsoor, the second ship in the Zumwalt-class of guided-missile destroyers, features groundbreaking innovations and technologies in propulsion, weapons, computing, and sensors throughout the ship.

“Going through the locks was my favorite part,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Cordarell Grider. “I was amazed by how quickly they can raise and lower the ship.”

During the transit, ships utilize a series of three locks, which raise the ship to a height of approximately 85 feet above sea level, before lowering again through three locks and exiting the canal system on the other side. The canal locks are 110 feet wide—plenty big enough for Michael Monsoor, which is approximately 81 feet wide and 610 feet long.

Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor departed Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine Nov. 9 to begin the transit to its future homeport of San Diego. The ship and crew made stops at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and Cartagena, Colombia, before heading through the canal, which was first opened in 1914. The canal serves as passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and saves ships the roughly 8000-mile journey around South America. Approximately 235 million tons of cargo pass through the canal every year.

Michael Monsoor began construction in 2013 and is scheduled to be commissioned on Jan. 26, 2019 in Coronado, Calif.

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