New Bedford’s historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is coming home.

The vessel underwent a seven-year complete restoration in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, thanks to state support secured by Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Antonio Cabral, philanthropists Robert Hildreth and the late H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, and the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association.

The Ernestina-Morrissey is the Commonwealth’s official vessel and will return to New Bedford State Pier later this month and will be under the care of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

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With her strong ties to the SouthCoast’s Cape Verdean community, the vessel will be made available for events such as the annual Cape Verdean Recognition Week, as well as for educational programming.

“From day one, I have been determined that the schooner will remain in New Bedford and honor her Cape Verdean heritage,” Sen. Montigny said. “We can never forget that this vessel transported Cape Verdean immigrants to the United States, and the people of Cape Verde gifted this beautiful ship to the people of Massachusetts to reflect our strong bond. The schooner is a tremendous source of pride for our local Cape Verdean community, and we are excited to finally welcome her home.”

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

“It truly has been quite an odyssey to reach this day, but the Ernestina is now sailing home to New Bedford restored to its former glory, as it deserved,” Rep. Cabral. “The Ernestina-Morrissey is a living testament to the connection between the people of Massachusetts and Cabo Verde. Its future as a floating classroom and training vessel for Mass Maritime will ensure that history – and the importance the Ernestina-Morrissey holds not only to the Cape Verdean community, but to New Bedford seamen – will not be lost.”

The Ernestina-Morrissey was at the center of a controversy back in 2019 when yellow pine wood stored in the New Bedford City Yard intended for her restoration went missing. It was later discovered to have been removed, with permission of a city worker, by a Freetown man who claimed he was using the wood for a home he was building, but who later sold the wood himself.

A probe by both the City of New Bedford and the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office determined no criminal wrongdoing in the incident.

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