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OH NO !!

mate's picture

This was a bad week for the boat. The state of MA has been doing layoffs because of budget problems and Ernestina's office was eliminated. Both Paul, the executive director, and Annie, the office manager were cut. This leaves Ernestina without an office or a director. One of the DCR's carpenters will look after some of the boat maintenence. There can be no fund raising without someone to raise funds, or even answer the phone or mail. There is no one to organize activities such as volunteer work days or boat visits by school children.

We will find out more at the Schooner Ernestina Commission meeting on Oct. 23rd. Click on "read more" below

It seems almost inconceiveable to me that the Commonwealth's Tall Ship could be left in such limbo. The boat was a gift from Cape Verde, who chose to return the boat here to the country of its origin when Cape Verde became independant. The United States put MA in charge since it was built here in 1894. The mandate was for the boat to be used for education, and it was for quite a few years. Due to lack of funding, the boat gradually deteriorated to the point where the Coast Guard won't certify it as a sailing school vessel (SSV). After the executive director and the head of the New Bedford National Park wrote successful grants and acquired state (DCR) matching funds as well as private grants of a million dollars to get the front half of the boat redone, the progress has stopped and it now may go backwards. The gift that was to be used for education is tied to the dock and there is no one there to even answer questions or give tours.

The only hope we have for the near future is the Schooner Ernestina Morrissey Association (SEMA). SEMA has an excellent board of directors and has been quietly going through a long process of being certified as a non-profit 501 C3. Their mission is "The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. has as its purpose raising funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming and operation of the Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey as a sail training vessel, school ship, and educational enterprise." In other words, to use the boat as it was intended.
They can be contacted by email at SEMA

PO Box 2995
New Bedford 02741

Checks can be made out to SEMA Put some zeros between the number and to the left of the decimal point.