The Flags of Ernestina-Morrissey


It’s been almost five years since we celebrated Ernestina-Morrissey‘s many flags.  (below) Her return to her homeport, New Bedford, brought questions about the flags flying on her masts.  Most will recognize the new Cabo Verde flag and the Massachusetts and City of New Bedford flags (see below) But what was the blue flag on the foremast?

It is the “Captain’s flag”, the state flag of Pennsylvania, Captain Krihwan’s home state. Photo credit Melissa DeValles

No one seemed to notice that the outer column looks like it is missing stars. Photo credit Melissa DeValles

No one asked about the United States flag on a temporary halyard.  If you looked carefully you can see it looked a little odd.  It only has 44 stars and is the 1894 U.S. flag, representing the year Ernestina-Morrissey was first launched from Essex, Massachusetts!

The Rest of the Story

We celebrated Ernestina-Morrissey‘s 124th birthday in February 2018 at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.  “One Ship – Many Lives!”

Why so many flags?  The United States has added six states since Ernestina-Morrissey was launched.

Launched in 1894, Effie M. Morrissey started her fishing career.

1894 - 44 states

1896 - 45 states

1906 Digby Nova Scotia owners

1907 - 46 states

1912 - 48 states

In 1914 The Morrissey was bought by Newfoundlander Harold Bartlett.

1914 - Newfoundland owner - British flag

Dominion of Canada

Dominion of Newfoundland

By 1926 Captain Bob Bartlett had bought the Morrissey from his cousin and was sailing her as an Arctic exploration vessel from New York.  She carried the flags of many scientific institutions.

1926 - 48 states

National Geographic Society

The Explorer's Club

After Bartlett’s death she was bought by Captain Henrique Mendes and sailed as her as Cape Verde (then a Portuguese colony) packet, renamed Ernestina.

1948 - Cape Verde - Colony of Portugal

1975 - The independent Republic of Cape Verde

In 1982 the Ernestina was returned to Massachusetts as a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Cape Verde with a home port of New Bedford..

1982 - 50 states

1982 - Commonwealth of Massachusetts

1992 - City of New Bedford – Home Port

From 1982-2014 Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey served as an educator and ambassador.  In 2014, renamed Ernestina-Morrissey, and supported by a public-private partnership, the vessel was delivered to Boothbay Harbor Shipyard to be rehabilitated to prepare her for her future service to the Commonwealth and the world.