Governor Baker signs An Act to preserve the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

On July 8th Governor Baker signed a bill creating a new chapter in the 1894 Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s life and story. The bill transfers her stewardship from the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA). The Act is the culmination of an initiative to fully rehabilitate this National Historic Landmark and Official Vessel of the Commonwealth that began in 2008.

The signing of this Bill is another seminal moment in the story and miraculous survival of this remarkable vessel. We are grateful to Massachusetts’ Senators Mark C. Montigny, Michael Rodrigues, and former Senator Viriato de Macedo as well as Representatives Antonio F.D. Cabral, Paul A. Schmid, and David T. Viera, among others, for their sponsorship of this legislation. SEMA is also grateful for John Bullard’s long and active advocacy of the vessel. As our colleague and past chairwoman of the Ernestina Commission Laura Pires-Hester and I recently wrote in our email, “We are excited about Ernestina-Morrissey sailing again, educating people again, bringing people together again, and doing her part in helping people of all colors unite around the world.  Now the vessel will once again be an educator, a portal into our maritime history, and an individual and collective pathway to the future. SEMA looks forward with excitement and enthusiasm to supporting MMA as it embarks on the latest chapter in this illustrious schooner’s story. “The Phoenix of the Seas” will sail again”

The vessel’s restoration is currently in Phase II which will install all the required systems, living quarters, her masts, and sails. SEMA will continue to be the conduit for donors’ funds to support this work which will result in a fully restored, Coast Guard licensed, operational vessel.

This Project to rehabilitate Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is supported by a public/private partnership with funds from  the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The H.F. Lenfest Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, the Hildreth-Stewart Charitable Foundation, The Manton Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts - Mary Morley Crapo Hyde Eccles Fund, the City of New Bedford’s Community Preservation Act Program,  the Carney Family Foundation, the Island Foundation, other grants and hundreds of individual contributions. Collectively this wonderful support has resulted in being on the verge of a new chapter for this much-loved schooner, Ernestina-Morrissey.