NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WJAR) — The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is back to its home of New Bedford after seven years of restoration work.
"It's been a long time since we've seen the Ernestina-Morrissey sailing into New Bedford to her home port, so this is wonderful," state Rep. Antonio Cabral said as the boat pulled into the harbor Tuesday.
The ship's rich history dates back to 1894, when she was built for the Gloucester fishing fleet.
The Ernestina then sailed around the world and was eventually used to bring immigrants to America.
She finally returned to the U.S. in 1982 as a gift from the newly independent Cape Verdean people.
The pandemic added to the cost and timeline, but after seven years of restoration work in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the Ernestina-Morrissey is finally back home.
"This is very important for New Bedford and very important for the state, I think. The state has taken care of the Ernestina since she was given to us by the people of Cape Verde, and I think we need to honor that and protect that," Cabral said.
The trip to get Ernestina home wasn't easy, but the captain and the crew said it was all worth it.
"You know, trying to get her here as fast as possible but still with the quality that the shipyard did, Bristol Marine did, you know you don't want to sacrifice quality versus time, and they did an outstanding job," Capt. Tiffany Krihwam told NBC 10 News. "It was worth the wait."
The Ernestina-Morrissey will stay in New Bedford for several weeks until she is moved to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Students there will be able to use the ship as a training vessel, which the captain said is very important when sailing the Seven Seas.
"This is technology from 120, 130 years ago was still in play. She sails the exact same way, and so learning basic seamanship is going to be a great asset to them," Kirhwam added.