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U.S. Public Health Service Seal Mystery

When ships were subject to quarantine inspection, they flew the yellow quarantine flag and stopped in the quarantine anchorage area opposite the quarantine station. Quarantine inspectors were then taken from the quarantine station to the anchored ships aboard one of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) cutter ships. The Foreign Quarantine Service was transferred to CDC in 1967, and the maritime quarantine stations were closed in the late 1970s.

The seal pictured above was removed from one the smokestacks of a USPHS cutter ship located at the Rosebank Quarantine Station on Staten Island, and brought to Atlanta. Not much of mystery you say? Look closely look at the seal, it's backwards.

It's a mirror image of the Public Health Service seal. If you look closely at this photograph, you can see that indeed the seal was mounted backwards on the smokestacks. The picture is not backwards. The question that begs an answer is WHY? Why would the PHS seal be mounted this way on the smoke stack? Do ships have rear view mirrors or is this just an error? If you know the answer, please e-mail us.

  • Page last reviewed: January 9, 2015
  • Page last updated: January 9, 2015
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