SCHOONER ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY, was built in 1894 at the James and Tarr Shipyard for the Gloucester fishing fleet. Under Captain Bob Bartlett she sailed to within 600 miles of the North Pole, and later brought immigrants to the U.S. under the power of sail. Returned to the US in 1982 as a gift from the newly independent Cape Verdean people, she sailed as an educator until 2005.

From Captain Tiffany Krihwan

Captain Tiffany Krihwan ~ December 17,2022

I am truly honored to be the next Captain of this amazing vessel.  In her 128 years they’ve been many amazing Mariners that have been charged with her care.  From the time that she sailed as a Grand Banks Fishing Schooner as Effie Morrissey and taking supplies and conducting scientific studies into the Arctic. From her days as Ernestina, bring people and supplies to and from Cape Verde. Her return to the US as an educational vessel and now as a sail training vessel for Massachusetts Leadership Academy as Ernestina-Morrissey.

One of my most favorite aspects of Ernestina-Morrissey is that I’m not her first female captain.  It seems like we are starting to reach a point in history when people aren’t as surprised about different genders in traditionally male roles. The cadets, trainees and students that sail aboard Ernestina-Morrissey will continue that trend of breaking role models.

We are here today because of so many people’s hard work, passion and dedication to the “Mighty E-M”. Her future is vast and she will help mold the next generation of leaders.

We are going to announce her return to the public with the ship’s horn. The horn is loud so be prepared. I’m happy to announce that Ernestina-Morrissey is open to the public in her home Port of New Bedford Massachusetts for the first time in more than 7 years. Ernestina-Morrissey is the people’s vessel.

Celebration Remarks from Julius Britto

December 17,2022, State Pier, New Bedford.

Forty years ago, as the first chair of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, Julius celebrated the arrival of Ernestina from Cape Verde to New Bedford State Pier. He is celebrating again!

Julius Britto, president of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, shared his thoughts at the celebration of Ernestina-Morrissey’s return to her homeport, New Bedford.

Thank you to the many, many friends and supporters of the beautiful, historic and only “official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”- the Ernestina- Morrissey!

Let no one be under any illusion that any one individual, entity or organization restored Ernestina- Morrissey. It has been her soul, her spirit and her dignity that has compelled us all to restore her to her sailing glory.

Since 2008, when SEMA was established, our purpose was to raise funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming, and operation of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey as a sail-training vessel, school ship, and education enterprise.

The financial dust has not settled yet, however, SEMA has received in donations and/or administered over 5 million dollars of this restoration.

There are over 50 individuals that SEMA has identified that have donated over $1,000.

Bob Hildreth, Gerry Lenfest, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts through DCR, Mass Maritime Academy, The Island Foundation, The Manton Foundation, Mary Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Foundation, The New Bedford Sea Shanty Chorus, The N.B. Comm. Preservation Grant, The Boston Marine Society, Thomas Bird, and Vineyard Wind to name a few.

Time does not permit me to thank all of the donors, however, SEMA will provide a listing in our annual report due out shortly.

In addition to donations administered by SEMA, The Lenfest Foundation and The Hildreth-Stewart Charitable Foundation granted millions to DCR’s Ernestina Trust for this project.

I also must recognize all the people who volunteered thousands of hours of time over the 15 years since the commitment was made to “Keep Ernestina Sailing” as the bumper sticker that was made then declared! Volunteers have served as Directors of SEMA, as members of the Schooner Ernestina Commission, some have represented Ernestina in song across New England, some by scraping and painting on workdays, helping DCR to maintain the vessel,  as docents for “open ship” for the public and much more.

Thanks also to the Bristol Marine Shipyard at Booth Bay Harbor, Maine, to DCR’s Wendy Pearl and to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Trustees for accepting the stewardship of Ernestina-Morrissey.

Ernestina Morrissey has been documented by Filmmaker Rick Lopes and son, Alessandro.  The work that they are doing to capture her soul, spirit and dignity is exemplary.  Their challenge, at this point in their work, is to obtain experiences and stories of Cape Verdeans who came from Cape Verde on sailing vessels.

If you have a loved one or know of a Cape Verdean who came on a sailing vessel from Cape Verde to the US, please get in touch with them and tell your story. Their contact information will be on SEMA’s website.

When Ernestina arrived in New Bedford in August 1982, Jose Luis Fernandes Lopes, the Cape Verdean Republic’s ambassador to the United States remarked that the arrival of the 107-foot ship in New Bedford “is more than a tribute to those Cape Verdeans who became the pioneers of our emigration…who demonstrated the utmost courage and perseverance by leaving their beloved country in search of a new life in distant lands,” he said. The ship is “an unmistakable catalyst in fostering a very special bond of friendship and human assistance from one country to another.”

Lopes closed with a wish, that the tall ship riding placidly at pier side “forever sail on the winds of hope, ever to remind us of the boundless possibilities of human understanding and cooperation.”

I am one of many people who have worked to restore the Schooner Ernestina- Morrissey over these nearly 50 years. I have a personal challenge to the Admiral of Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Frances McDonald and any future Admiral, the Captain of Ernestina- Morrissey, Tiffany Krihwan and any successor to her, as well as the trustees of Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

The challenge is to preserve and EMBRACE Ernestina- Morrissey’s DIVERSITY.  ERNSTINA-MORRISSEY is the only tall ship in the fleet of tall ships gifted to the people of the United States from an African country. In my view, if Ernestina-Morrissey’s diversity is EMBRACED, her soul and spirit will EXCEED ALL EXPECTATIONS.

Everyone should challenge their expectations, their comfort zones  and embrace the future!


A Celebration Recap from Massachusetts Maritime Academy

The Ernestina-Morrissey; from left to right State Representative Steve Xiarhos; State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues; State Representative Kip A. Diggs; Bob Hildreth; State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral; Jose Couto Centeio, Esq.; Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito; New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell; Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva, Republic of Cabo Verde; U.S. Representative William B. Keating; State Representative Christopher Hendricks; State Representative David T. Vieira; Capt. Elizabeth Simmons, Massachusetts Maritime Academy; Wendy Pearl, Department of Conservation and Recreation; Julius Britto; Consul General of Canada Rodger Cuzner.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the City of New Bedford Welcome the Return of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

WAREHAM, NEW BEDFORD, MA, ISSUED DECEMBER 19, 2022…Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the City of New Bedford, in conjunction with the prime minister of Cabo Verde, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Consul General of Canada to Boston Rodger Cuzner, and many other state and local government officials, recently welcomed the return of the Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Ernestina-Morrissey with a celebration held on Saturday, December 17, at 49 State Pier in New Bedford.  The vessel was also open for public tours over the weekend.

The Schooner Effie Morrissey was launched in 1894 and for the next 20 or so years carried Gloucester fishermen to the Grand Banks, Labrador, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Following that, she served as an arctic exploration ship and then as a supply and survey ship for the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1948, Captain Henry Mendes purchased the ship and brought her back to life after a catastrophic fire. Renaming her the Ernestina, he then began sailing her as a transatlantic packet, carrying goods and passengers between the Cape Verde islands and the United States through 1965. For years thereafter, she was an important means of inter-island transportation and communication in Cape Verde. After five years of dedicated fundraising and restoration work, in 1982 the Ernestina was given to the people of the United States by the people of Cape Verde in recognition of the longstanding ties between the two countries.

Legislation passed in 2019 returned the Sailing School Vessel Ernestina-Morrisey to her home port of New Bedford, under the care of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. For years to come, she will serve the Commonwealth – and her citizens of Cape Verdean descent – as an educational asset, teaching upcoming generations about the majesty of the oceans, the history of sail navigation, the strength of the Cape Verdean people, and the ties that bind them all together.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy will focus the efforts of the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey on undergraduate sail-training and leadership training for cadets, K-12 STEM programming, and community outreach and awareness within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond. These three pillars will look to ensure the legacy of Ernestina-Morrissey as an educational asset for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“There has been amazing excitement on our campus and throughout our region thinking about the return of the Ernestina-Morrissey,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  “She has had such a storied past, and to think now about her future of training young mariners in front of her is very powerful.”

Added New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, “Grand Banks fishing vessel, Arctic explorer, packet ship, passenger liner for Cape Verdean immigrants – the Ernestina-Morrissey has left its mark across a broad sweep of American history.  Thanks to the commitment of the Commonwealth, the City, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, SEMA, and inspired philanthropists, it will live on to tell its story right here in its homeport of New Bedford.”

The Honorable Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts, was unable to attend the festivities, but shared his thoughts on his role with the schooner.  “It was my great privilege as Governor in 1977 to sign the legislation authored by the late state representative Tom Lopes creating the Schooner Ernestina Commission and to appoint Julius Britto as its first Chairman. This allowed the Commonwealth to accept this magnificent gift from the people of Cape Verde. Later in 1983 after she arrived in Massachusetts, I worked with the legislature to provide funding to allow Captain Dan Moreland and his crew to complete the restoration and begin her educational programing, setting a standard that continues to this day. This is a proud day for all those who have labored so long for this great schooner.”

“Recognizing the importance of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey and its impact on the Commonwealth’s maritime history, our Administration invested $5 million to restore and ready the vessel to sail at sea once again,” added Governor Charlie Baker. “After 40 years of stewardship, we are proud to help bring the Ernestina-Morrisey home, where she will be utilized as an educational vessel for decades to come.”

“The collective efforts and collaboration between our Administration, state legislators, the Schooner Ernestina Commission, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy serve as a tremendous example of the dedicated, strong partnerships to ensure the Official Vessel of the Commonwealth returns to navigating the open seas,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By contributing to the assessment, design, and construction of the Ernestina-Morrissey, we are giving Massachusetts residents and visitors an opportunity to learn about this historic ship.”

The Ernestina-Morrissey also has an important history with the Republic of Cabo Verde.  “The Ernestina-Morrissey is a proud symbol of the unique and enduring connection between the peoples of Cabo Verde and Massachusetts.  Our stories are so richly intertwined, and the wonderful restoration of this vessel – by so many who cared so deeply and gave so generously – boldly affirms the great promise of our shared future. On behalf of Caboverdeans everywhere, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all that made today possible.”

“The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is a treasured gift from the people of Cape Verde that reflects the strong, enduring bond between our nations,” added State Senator Mark Montigny (D-2nd Bristol and Plymouth), who has long-supported capital and operating needs for the Ernestina-Morrissey and successfully led legislation to secure her restoration.  “It is almost hard to believe that after decades of securing millions of state dollars in earmarks and legislation, she is finally back home in New Bedford, fully restored and ready to navigate the open seas.  Our law forever protects this historic vessel and her Cape Verdean heritage, and New Bedford is proudly displayed on her stern.  Today is a special day for our community and the Commonwealth, and I look forward to the day when the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey can set sail for beautiful Cape Verde.”

State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, echoed these sentiments.  “As the official vessel of the Commonwealth, the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey means a great deal to so many people, and today marks the culmination and a celebration of a long journey to preserve, protect and return this historic vessel to the port of New Bedford, while honoring our state’s strong ties with the people of Cape Verde and our Cape Verdean community here in the South Coast.  Thanks to the hard work and advocacy of Senator Montigny, Representative Cabral and others, we were successful in securing state funding and passing a law to protect this National Historic Landmark, ensuring that the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey would proudly sail again as a fully restored vessel and serve as an educational asset for our communities and the Commonwealth for many, many years to come.”

State Senator Susan L. Moran (D-Plymouth & Barnstable) shared her thoughts on the schooner’s arrival in New Bedford.  “I cannot think of a more perfectly suited place for the Ernestina-Morrissey to dock and call home,” she said.  “Not only will it be wonderful to have this historic vessel available to the public, but it is touching that the legacy of this ship will live on to educate and train the next generation of sailors.”

“I am very proud to welcome home the historic Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey,” shared Sate Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-13th Bristol).  “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 Massachusetts Maritime Academy 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.”

“I am proud to help welcome the Ernestina-Morrissey to its next life with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy,” added State Representative Steve Xiarhos (R-5th Barnstable). “This legendary schooner has a rich and compelling history, involving people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is important for us to be able to pass along the stories of this heritage to the next generation, while also creating new adventures for the vessel in the years ahead. This is an exciting day for our Commonwealth.”

“The rehabilitation of the Ernestina-Morrissey is critical to our ongoing conservation efforts for state-managed landmarks and ensures a thoughtful approach and strategy in preserving the Commonwealth’s rich history,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card.  “The vessel’s restoration and homecoming is an exciting milestone for the Baker-Polito Administration and will improve the vital connection to those who came before us.”

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Doug Rice added, “Over the last 40 years, the Department of Conservation and Recreation has worked to maintain and rehabilitate the Ernestina-Morrissey, the Official Vessel of the Commonwealth.  We are proud to bring this historic vessel home to New Bedford and we look forward to continuing to aid the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the process to restore this historic vessel to her former glory.”

“The Ernestina-Morrissey captured my imagination the moment I stepped aboard over 25 years ago, a small time in the life of this historic ship,” remembered Bob Hildreth, able seaman and founder and chair of the board of Inversant. “But it was a critical time during which we saw the ship in danger of being hauled ashore to make it into a museum only to appear as a gleaming and seaworthy ship today. I have tried to be there with my treasure at every stage. It is truly a wonderful day!”

Added Jose Couto Centeio, Esq., chair of the Governor-appointed Schooner Ernestina Advisory Board (SEMAB), “When we work together, we can go places and do beautiful things with Ernestina-Morrissey.”

“It’s an honor to be entrusted with a ship of such historical significance and to carry forward this new mission of the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey,” concluded Captain Tiffany Krihwan, master of the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey.

For more information about the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey, please visit

About Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA): MMA is a fully accredited, four-year, state university offering Bachelor and Master of Science degrees that are highly regarded in the worldwide maritime industry and beyond. For more than 100 years, MMA has prepared students for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation’s finest maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. Located on Cape Cod, at the mouth of the scenic Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the ideal college to pursue the love for the ocean, concern for the environment, interest in math and science, and a thirst for adventure. Follow MMA on FB:  @massmaritime, @MassMaritime.Advancement; IG: @massmaritime, @mmacademyalumni; Twitter: @MMAadmissions, @MMAcademyAlumni; YouTube: Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

A Message From SEMA

Ernestina-Morrissey Arrives in Homeport New Bedford!

Back in her berth in New Bedford! 11/29/2022

Ernestina-Morrissey‘s crew arrived in New Bedford where more work must be completed before final Coast Guard inspections can occur.

There will be no public access to the vessel until Ernestina-Morrissey receives her full Coast Guard certifications.

Check the SEMA Facebook page and the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey Facebook page for frequent updates!  And check the comments there for more photos.

The crew took a brief weather window on Tuesday, November 29 and departed Massachusetts Maritime Academy with little public notice.  Buzzards Bay was calm and although the temperature was low there was little wind and with an early start they arrived in New Bedford before noon.

Ernestina-Morrissey Arrives at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

We knew the crew was waiting for a weather window but didn’t know when that would be.  The news came from Bristol Marine’s Facebook Page Thursday evening, which included a link to follow the voyage. The news spread and we shared that post on the SEMA page early Friday morning. By mid-morning Ernestina-Morrissey was approaching the east end of the Cape Cod Canal almost ready to start her next life with Massachusetts Maritime Academy.   Ernestina-Morrissey means a great deal to many people who have connections to her many adventures since 1894.  Some of them headed to the Cape Cod Canal and the viewing areas there. We are immensely grateful to those who sent these images to share with you!  Check the SEMA Facebook page for frequent updates!  And check for photos in the comments.

Tally Garfield was waiting on the breakwater near Scusset Beach to be one of the first to welcome Ernestina-Morrissey to Massachusetts. Photo Credit Tally Garfield

Approaching the Sagamore Bridge from the Cape Cod side of the canal. Photo Credit Ellen Madigan Newman She posted many on the Facebook page.

Gene Monteiro, former Schooner Ernestina commissioner, sent this fabulous video!  Look how well she moves through the water!  The Sagamore Bridge is at the beginning.  The crew recognized the spectators onshore with a blast from Ernestina-Morrissey‘s horn. Credit Eugene Monteiro

Ernestina-Morrissey encountered some traffic in the Canal! Photo credit Tally Garfield

As they passed the Bourne bridge, the crew deployed the rescue/push boat to prepare for docking. Photo credit Tally Garfield

The wind was pushing Ernestina-Morrissey away from the dock. The push boat and Mass Maritime's Tug Hercules helped as the crew moored her at her berth at the Academy. Photo Credit Gene Monteiro

Ernestina-Morrissey Leaves Boothbay Harbor !

Photo Credit Bristol Marine

Ernestina-Morrissey left Boothbay Harbor yesterday evening and set a course south.   She is now in Cape Cod Bay approaching the east end of the canal. Massachusetts Maritime Academy has  a webcam streaming the Cape Cod Canal traffic. Here’s how she looked  passing there 7.6 years ago heading for Maine! Ernestina-Morrissey is stopping at Massachusetts Maritime Academy today and is scheduled to return to her homeport New Bedford after Thanksgiving.

April 12, 2015 Tug Jaguar , piloted by Captain Charlie Mitchell, tows Ernestina-Morrissey to Boothbay Harbor, ME. The vessel returns on November 18, 2022!

Photo Credit Ellen Madigan Newman Passing under the Sagamore Bridge! 11/18/2022 10:30

Repairing Ernestina 1

Almost a year ago we reported about the dories being moved to the  Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Science & Field Operations Center in Marion. On December 16, 2021 Fred Sterner, former mate on Ernestina and also on the Schooner Ernestina Commission, began to work on Ernestina 1. You can see the progress below and know Ernestina 1 will be waiting at New Bedford State Pier when Ernestina-Morrissey arrives at her berth!

Split in the rail across the thole pin holes must be fixed or this dory won't row well!

Fred used epoxy and clamps to repair the split.

There was a split in the transom that needed repair too.

After considering the quicker commute  and access to his tools, Fred moved the dory from Marion to his workshop.  Work was slow until spring.

Needs scraping and cleaning and also notice the drain hole for when the dory on deck and the plug to remember when it is launched

The inside is scraped and joints primed, broken starboard seat stringer removed

Painted with Kirby's #9 Cream Semi-gloss: the new seat riser and old thwarts, which are removable so that the dories can be stacked on deck

Kirby's paint! The BEST!

The new seat stringer is clamped in place

Shaping the edges of the stringer.

Inside painted with Kirby's #9 Cream Semi-Gloss paint, thwarts in place.

Careened for scraping, sanding and painting the side and bottom

Ernestina 1 ready for scraping, sanding and painting the outside, notice the Ernestina 1 in the bow.

The transom needed caulking

and sanding too.

Scraped and sanded.

Kirby's primer

The name was masked, there is no stencil to reproduce it.

The Starboard side is done and the port side has been painted.

Ernestina 1, Almost Done!

Rails painted with Kirby's Dory Green, Always Kirby's!


See you on State Pier!

Laura Pires Hester Honored by Cabo Verde Government

An award ceremony was held at the Consulate General of Cabo Verde in Quincy, Massachusetts on November 4, 2022.  Several Individuals were honored for their contributions. With the honorees in the center is Ambassador José Luís Do Livramento Monteiro Alves de Brito and to the right is Minister Plenipotentiary Octavio Bento Gomes

The Ambassador, José Luís Do Livramento Monteiro Alves de Brito presented Laura with a First Class Medal of Merit. The award was decreed by His Excellency the former President of the Republic, Dr. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca on October 29, 2021. Dr. Laura Pires-Hester, received the first class of the Medal of Merit, “in recognition of her relevant and meritorious contribution to the promotion of the Cabo Verdean community, to the knowledge of Cabo Verde, its history and its values and to the construction of the Cabo Verdean national identity.”

First Class of the Medal of Merit

From the Consulate:

Dr. Laura Pires-Hester was born in Wareham, Massachusetts, USA, the daughter of Cape Verdean parents. She has always felt connected to Cape Verde and has spent many decades serving our community in the United States. Her life has effectively combined high academic achievement and professional contributions, while also characterized by active volunteerism. This combination has enabled her to build networks of individuals and organizations to support and empower the most disadvantaged sections of society. Her pragmatism, professionalism, humility, and persistence have made her a reference point for all. She has dedicated much of her career to creating and improving opportunities for underserved people and communities, including Cape Verdeans and other people of color who have been affected by inequities in American society.

Two books published in 2015 highlight her professional and volunteer work: Creating a College That Works: Audrey Cohen and Metropolitan College of NY, by Grace Roosevelt; and Phoenix of the Seas: Ernestina/Morrisey-State Ship of MA, by Chester Brigham.

Her doctoral dissertation, “A Study of Cape Verdean-American Ethnic Development: The Emergence of Bilateral Diaspora Ethnicity and Its Impact on a Southeastern New England Locality”, reflects her commitment to the Cape Verdean community.

A highlight of her accomplishments is undoubtedly Dr. Laura’s brilliant work with Michael Platzer in co-leading the National Friends of Ernestina-Morrissey. In this effort, they worked tirelessly and meritoriously with hundreds of individuals and organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Philadelphia to raise support and funds to restore and repatriate the historic Ernestina. This could not have happened without the government and people of the newly independent Cabo Verde, which resulted in Ernestina’s return as the amazing gift to “people of the United States” in 1982. Especially in this time of global polarization and strife, Dr. Laura believes that the unique Ernestina story (which is not yet finished) represents the kind of ethnic, cultural, economic, and geographic “crossing of boundaries” that are so needed both here and abroad.

Sea Trials!

A few days before the October Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey-Advisory Board Meeting the vessel underwent sea trials. Ernestina-Morrissey set out from the dock under her own power and the new engine, transmission and drive line performed well.

A bone in her teeth!

Representatives from Cummins Marine Power , TwinDisc Transmissions and Hundested Propulsion Systems were onboard for the hour-long trials and Ernestina-Morrissey‘s mechanical propulsion systems will only need a few minor adjustments.

Surely, when she sensed the open water of the Gulf of Maine she was ready to keep going but it was time to get back to the dock. Ernestina-Morrissey still needs the rest of the hardware installed on her spars and the running rigging completed; then the sails can be bent on.

Everyone onboard agreed that Ernestina-Morrissey‘s sea trials were a success.

If you want to hear the Cummins QSM 11 engine running visit the crew’s Facebook page. And like and follow the page to get more great posts!

Thank you to Bristol Marine’s Facebook page for the photos.

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