A Message from Gregg Swanzey


The case for Ernestina ex-Effie M. Morrissey standing as the most venerable and significant ship afloat today, barring none, is easily made. No need to say more. However, any vision and strategic plan will be undermined beyond repair without passionate and enthusiastic investment by those instrumental to the mission. Without this what confidence will individuals, private funders, or clients have when asked to get involved?

As President Reagan stated in a letter in 1982: “The gift of the schooner Ernestina restored so carefully by your government [Cape Verde] and the ship’s many friends, is deeply appreciated. On behalf of my fellow Americans, to whom you have so thoughtfully given the Ernestina, let me thank you for an enduring symbol of private endeavor and of effective cooperation between our governments.”

Ernestina is a gift between nations. The “owners” are the people of Cape Verde because of their continuing stake in the ship and the citizens of the United States of America because her care is entrusted to us.

Title is held by the state of Massachusetts. Ernestina ex-Effie M. Morrissey is the “official vessel of the Commonwealth.”

The enabling legislation ensures that the homeport will be the port of New Bedford.

The ship’s operation is governed by the Schooner Ernestina Commission appointed by the Governor and care of the ship and collections are entrusted to them.

How are the owners, hosts, and stewards going to convincingly demonstrate their long-term and unwavering commitment to the ship and its mission? Only 100% participation will suffice. Answer this question with confidence and the rest will fall into place.

Fair Winds,

Gregg Swanzey

Executive Director (1995 – 2005)

Ernestina Commission