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Unique ‘Working’ RMS Visited by Royalty and Public Prior to Final Voyage from UK

14th June 2016
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View from bridgewing of RMS St. Helena on historic once-ff call to London (Pool of London) and overlooking HMS Belfast, a WW2 battle cruiser which is a permanent floating visitor attraction. View from bridgewing of RMS St. Helena on historic once-ff call to London (Pool of London) and overlooking HMS Belfast, a WW2 battle cruiser which is a permanent floating visitor attraction. Photo: Photo Jehan Ashmore

#RMSroyalty - RMS St. Helena which Royal Family member Princes Anne visited as previously reported during the ships historic visit to London, is to depart later today on a farewell voyage from the UK to St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic, writes Jehan Ashmore.

For more than a quarter of a century, the 159 passenger ship custom-built for St. Helena Line to bring essential supplies of cargo to St Helenian’s, however is to be decommissioned. The Scottish built ship pf 6,767 gross tonnage is to be replacement by German containership contracted to AW Ship Management that currently includes operations of RMS St. Helena.

In addition a new airport, a first for St. Helena, the British Overseas Territory of 47 square miles, is yet to open and this has extended operation of voyages to September.

The Princess recalled her own visit to the Island on the RMS in 2002, that was before the St. Helena Line vessel changed routes from the UK and now she sails to and from Cape Town, South Africa, a distance of 1,200 miles taking five days. She highlighted the crucial role RMS played in the lives of the islanders and she ended by wishing everyone a successful voyage back to St Helena.

St. Helena Government’s UK representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, commented: “What makes the RMS special? For the past 26 years she has provided the lifeline to the people of St Helena and Ascension – carrying food, medical supplies, building materials, and of course the mail. She is one of only four remaining Royal Mail Ships and the last working one. “She is quite simply an extension to St Helena, part of our family.”

Guests enjoyed a reception on the Sun Deck with spectacular vistas of the Pool of London while moored on the Thames alongside HMS Belfast, a WW2 battle cruiser and a backdrop to include the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The opportunity was taken by many to acknowledge the dedication of the officers and crew.

Captain Andrew Greentree added: “It was a great honour and privilege to welcome HRH The Princess Royal on board the RMS St Helena and to be the Captain whose crew prepared the ship well for this historic and memorable event. The officers and crew greatly appreciate HRH visiting the ship and taking a photograph with them.”

On completion of a four-day call visit in the UK capital, RMS St. Helena departed on Friday 22nm miles downriver to Tilbury Docks, London Cruise Terminal.

The next day, due to the ship's unique career and final call to the UK, some 600 members of the public eagerly boarded for a pre-booked tour of the ship. Having loaded cargo in recent days, passengers will board today at the Landing Stage for the ‘RMS’ final voyage from the UK.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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