New joint Administrators to take over from longest serving Administrator

Tristan preparing for historic hand-over of Administration

All Change at the Helm at Tristan da Cunha

The island community awaits the arrival of MFV Edinburgh from Cape Town on Thursday 23rd January. Aboard are the island's first Joint Administrators, Fiona Kilpatrick and Steve Townsend. This is the first time there has been a joint adminstration on the island, and Fiona will become the first lady to hold the post.

Photo taken on 9th January shows Fiona and Steve in London
during a meeting with Tristan Association Co-Chair John Cooper.

Fiona and Steve flew from London to South Africa on 11th January 2020 and departed from Cape Town aboard the Edinburgh on Thursday 16th January.

The married couple will replace Sean Burns, who, as he completes a second term, becomes the longest-serving Tristan da Cunha Administrator after completing 6 years and 5 months in the role.

Sean arrived in September 2010 to serve a first term dominated by the MS Oliva wreck on Nightingale Island in March 2011. He departed in October 2013 to serve as Deputy, and later Acting Governor, on St Helena. Sean returned for a welcome second term in November 2016. A highlight of his second term was the wedding of his daughter Kelly to Shane Green in September 2017 and no doubt Sean will return to visit them and their granddaughter Savanna in the future. Sean will next become Administrator of Ascension Island, completing remarkable leading service on all three islands of the UK Overseas Territory, itself another historic record.


Peter Millington's photo shows Sean and Marina Burns
with their daughter Kelly and granddaugher Savanna
at Kelly's 30th birthday party
held in the Prince Philip Hall on 30th November 2019.

The MFV Edinburgh will remain at Tristan da Cunha for a few days to offload, backload and then return to Cape Town. This period will be a hectic one on the island as all-hands normally assist with offloading cargo, the first since November 2019, hopefully containing fresh fruit in good condition. 

During this period Fiona and Steve will be in tempoary accommodation during a briefing and hand-over period, before taking the helm and moving into The Residency. MFV Edinburgh is scheduled to return to Cape Town with Sean and Marina on board on Friday 31st January, but that may well change according to circumstances. We will report these events on other pages in due course.

They will be intrigued, no doubt, to explore the lovely Residency garden to see if moulting Northern rockhopper penguins are still to be found there. See Sean's photo below.

Photo taken by Sean Burns on 7th January 2020
shows a moulting Northern rockhopper penguin during its annual moult on a wall in The Residency.
This bird is an immature adult, probably hatched and raised on the island in 2018.
It has yet to develop the beautiful long yellow and black tassles
which differentiate the sub-species from those found in the Falkland Islands.