Conrad and Sharon Glass' Return to St Helena Delayed
Update on RMS ST Helena's mechanical problems and onward schedules
Report from Tristan Administrator Sean Burns, RMS ST Helena and St Helena Government websites
Connie and Sharon Glass plan to travel to St Helena from Cape Town for three months training with St Helena Police Service. Connie did his original training there 30 years ago so they both know the island well. There has been a lot of development within the St Helena Police Service, which Connie will benefit from and this is an opportunity for Sharon to work on the administrative, licensing and court side of things. This is also a part of building stronger links between the islands. They will be travelling through Ascension in July for some further training in the UK and then back here on the Agulhas.
In the meantime, PC Lewis Glass and PC Lorraine Repetto are running the police service on Tristan da Cunha.
Continuing RMS ST Helena mechanical problems and future schedules
The RMS St Helena has continued to provide regular passages from Cape Town to St Helena and Ascension Island from May 2016 as the plans to develop a regular scheduled air services to replace the ship have been delayed.
After mechanical problems, relating to one of her propeller shafts, on Voyage 254, which departed Cape Town on 8 March 2017, the ship sailed at a reduced speed and arrived back later than planned. As a result, the following voyage, 255, was cancelled and the vessel transferred to a dry dock in Simonstown, South Africa from 29 March to undertake repair work on her starboard propeller.
On completion of repairs, the RMS departed Simonstown for the short passage to Cape Town on Thursday 13 April. Voyage 256 was scheduled to depart on Good Friday 14 April and arrive at St Helena on 19 April, but a further problem has been detected with the starboard propeller on arrival in Cape Town. Divers have been deployed and confirmed that the propeller blades are locked in the full ahead position. The RMS will therefore continue the voyage on one engine. This will result in a delay to the ship's arrival at St Helena – now scheduled for Friday 21 April 2017, but subject to when the ship departs Cape Town. The vessel remained moored in Cape Town harbour at 09.00 GMT on Saturday 15 April.
Voyage 256 was effectively also cancelled when passengers disembarked from aboard RMS St Helena on Easter Day, Sunday 16th April. On this day the St Helena Government announced 'It is therefore highly likely that the vessel will need to go back to dry dock and preliminary arrangements have been made for this to happen on late Wednesday/early Thursday this week. A full repair will be undertaken, with the intention that the RMS schedule will commence again from Voyage 257.'
Alternative travel arrangements for those wanting to travel to and from St Helena are being sought, and the situation is made worse by problems at Ascension Island airport which caused the cancellation of the 14th April Voyager flight from UK to the Falkland Islands via Ascension.
Including Voyage 257, scheduled to leave Cape Town on 4th May, twelve further voyages are presently advertised on the RMS St Helena website, up to Voyage 268 which is planned to depart Cape Town on 24 January and return there on 11 February 2018 as the ship continues to provide the main passenger and important freight service to St Helena.