by Kevin Griffin writing in cybercruises.com
The well-known 128-berth supply ship St Helena arrived in London last week, where she tied up alongside HMS Belfast to receive HRH Princess Anne, a former passenger, for a function on board on Wednesday evening.
RMS St Helena in London (Photo Peter van den Berg)
This is the ship’s last visit to the UK as when the new airport is finally opened at St Helena her passenger capacity will no longer be needed.
St Helena arrived at Tilbury Docks last Sunday June 5, with 123 passengers on board. She then moved to the Pool of London and departed on Friday evening to return to the London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury, where 600 members of the public visited on pre-booked tours this Saturday.
AWS Shipping of London, the ship’s managers, had previously advised the final sailing dates via the islands with two calls at each of Ascension and St Helena northbound and two calls at each of St Helena and Ascension southbound and also Tenerife in each direction:
Cape Town May 7 to London June 5, 2016
London June 14 to Cape Town July 15, 2016
The original Canadian built St Helena
The RMS, as she is called, is scheduled to depart from Tilbury at 16:00hrs tomorrow, June 14, en route to Tenerife, Ascension and St Helena.
The present vessel was built in 1989 and replaced a Canadian-built namesake that had served St Helena since 1978, when ocean liners ceased to call on the tiny island.
The present St Helena’s replacement has now been identified as a Dutch-owned general cargo ship called Eemslift Christiaan. As Helena, the replacement ship will be able to carry up to 4,979 tonnes of cargo and twelve passengers.
Eemslift Christiaan, the replacement ship of the St Helena
Meanwhile, following certification of St Helena Airport on May 10, the presence of wind shear was noted by the first few flights into the Airport.
This has needed work that includes the development of operational procedures to allow use of the northern runway (20), where wind shear has been identified, and options for using the southern runway (02), where wind shear has not been identified as a problem.
Air service, when it eventually opens, is to be provided from Johannesburg by Comair, a South African franchise of British Airways.
RMS St Helena
While this work goes on, the St Helena government has extended the contract for St Helena to supply three more voyages for passengers and cargo from Cape Town, on July 8, August 20 and September 9, with final return to Cape Town on September 27. Bookings for the extra voyages opened last week.
St Helena voyage 243 leaves London to-morrow for calls at Tenerife, St Helena, Ascension and St Helena and Ascension again before arriving at Cape Town on July 15 to begin her final three voyages. The vessel is now for sale.