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.

E-M Returns to Massachusetts, Celebration at MMA June 15

On May 18, 2023 Ernestina-Morrissey returned to her berth at New Bedford's Stata pier. Her epic shakedown cruise to Florida and Texas was part of a Tall Ships Challenge (post below) . Check below for details of the celebration at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on June 15. ~~~~~ Photo Credit: Polly Zajac


You Are Invited!  Thursday, June 15, 3:30-6

A donation is always appreciated but attendance is FREE.

Register HERE

Join us for the homecoming event to celebrate the SSV Ernestina-Morrissey’s return to Massachusetts Maritime Academy!

~Please register to secure your spot for the ceremony as space is limited. ~

The Celebration is scheduled for 3:30 to 6:00 PM. After a short welcome ceremony all attendees, as they arrive, will be invited to visit exhibits and Ernestina-Morrissey is expected to be open for visitors to board.  Please REGISTER! The organizers want to know how many attendees to expect!

~Registration will close on June 9th or once capacity is reached.~

This will allow us to have an accurate headcount.


~Please note:  closed-toe, flat-heeled shoes are recommended~

The Ernestina-Morrissey is expected to be open for visitors to board.


This event is free and open to the public so please feel free to share with your community. MMA only asks that folks register via the link below (so that they have an idea of a headcount!).


Register HERE

A donation is always appreciated but attendance is FREE.

If you have questions, please contact Kimberly Wood at or 508-830-5099.


The Gulf Tall Ships Challenge!

20230329 Anchored in Lower Tampa Bay, photo credit Pride of Baltimore

Ernestina-Morrissey has arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida to begin her participation in the Tall Ships America’s spring 2023 Tall Ships Challenge. The boat left New Bedford Friday and this morning Sunday, 3/19 at 11:00 she was off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina. You can follow her track online at AIS Marine Tracker Perhaps you will be near the post visits and can visit Ernestina-Morrissey. Please use these links to learn more: St Petersburg. Florida: March 30-April 2 Galveston, Texas: April 13-16 Pensacola, Florida: April 27-30 You can see many photos and the latest updates on the crew’s Facebook page.

Volunteers Mustering, You Can Help!

Hello Volunteers,
The crew is working hard to prepare for the trip south, less than a month away!.
Tiffany has sent us a request for volunteers:
“We are in need of some volunteer help. Projects include: prep and painting some deck boxes, labeling PFD’s, Installing safety equipment on the new PFDs,
Help with our vinyl cutter to make labels for the ship.
If people are able to help any and all days of the coming week should be here at the ship next week Monday through Friday at 0900.”
Please contact Captain Tiffany Krihwan <>> with any questions or to let her know when you can help.   If you know anyone else who may be interested please share this message. We are trying to rebuild a group of volunteers to match the terrific group that was always helping out when she was sailing and later when she was only dockside.
Please let Tiffany Captain Tiffany Krihwan <>> know if you can help.   She hopes to begin the voyage south in early March. There are many ways people can help!

You Can Help Too!


Ernestina-Morrissey Enters the 129th year of an Amazing Story

Ernestina-Morrissey will begin the fifth chapter of the ship’s amazing story this spring.  Grand Banks Fishing, Arctic Exploring, Cape Verdean Packeting, and since her repatriation to Massachusetts, Educating have already given her an awesome story. Now operated by Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Ernestina-Morrissey will continue her education mission in the spring by participating in the Tall Ships Challenge  - Gulf Coast 2023.

The active search for crew is posted in the “Upcoming Events” in the column at the right.  Wouldn’t you love to be one of the first to sail on the “renewed” Ernestina-Morrissey? Follow the link to the Billet Bank for instructions and the contact email.

Tall Ships Challenge – Gulf Coast 2023!

Ernestina-Morrissey will be participating in the Tall Ships Challenge Gulf Coast 2023.

Anticipated Port Calls are:

St Petersburg, FL   March 30, 2023 – April 2, 2023

Galveston, TX  April 13-15, 2023

Pensacola, FL  April 27-30, 2023

MORE DETAILS HERE and more to be shared later.

Interested in crew positions? MORE DETAILS HERE

Flags of Ernestina-Morrissey: Redux

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

As we celebrate the 129th Anniversary of Ernestina-Morrissey’ s launch from the ways in Essex, MA, we look back at how we celebrated 5 years ago. READ MORE HERE



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

Links to more photos and video below.

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.


Massachusetts Maritime Academy Ernestina-Morrissey Flickr Album

Cape Cod Times Photo Gallery

New Bedford Light Welcome Home Ernestina-Morrissey Video

A Message From SEMA

← Older posts   |