1972, Alberto Lopes spent 807,500 escudos repairing the
bottom of Ernestina. A great deal of her frames,
keel sections and hull timbers were renewed, and the hull
sheathed with aluminum sheeting below the waterline. On
April 6, 1972 he set sail for Fogo, but ran into a
dangerous fog. He lost his bearings and tacked back and
forth looking for the lighthouse of Fogo which was
frequently out of operation. The sea was extremely rough
and when he finally spotted Brava, he was unable to enter
the harbor of Furna. He reached Vale dos Cavaleiros
(Fogo) with a great deal of difficulty. He tried to
return to S. Vicente but again there was reduced
visibility and in the high winds he dared only to keep
one sail up. He ran out of fuel and was drifting
southwest in the strong current. Finally, the ship, Fogo,
spotted the Ernestina and brought sufficient fuel
to continue on to Sao Vicente.
Alberto Lizardo then took over as master of the vessel. The Ernestina continued to sail until 1974. According to several marine surveyors who viewed her, she was "in good condition" and "well fitted out for trading between the islands of the Cape Verde group." However, her sails and rigging were in poor condition and there was still a pernicious leak around the propeller shaft.
When Alberto Lopes acquired a competing freighter and the colonial government had purchased several vessels, the Ernestina began to be used less and less. Her usefulness as an inter-island packet ship was finished.
In the late nineteen sixties interest arose in the United States to save the historic vessel. Approaches were made to acquire her for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York. Harry Dugan [who sailed north to the Arctic with Bartlett in the 1940s] and the Bartlett Exploration Association of Philadelphia made several offers to buy the ship from Alberto Lopes in 1972, 1975 and 1976.
Scanned images from the campaign to "Save the Morrissey" follow. Take a look at the notable explorers, scientists and writers that signed on!