Arrival back in Cape Town at the end of the voyage.

Mid-Winter 2020 Edinburgh Voyage

Return to Cape Town: Report from Cynthia Green

Offloading of MFV Edinburgh was resumed on Saturday 18th July 2020 and completed just after 7pm that evening. Backloading was done on Sunday 19th July, passengers boarded about 1pm and the ship sailed for Cape Town later that afternoon. Passengers were: Teacher Clare Ryan and contractors Paul Ferreira and Gerhard Kapp.

Voyage summary: Departed Cape Town 19 June 2020 > 11 day voyage > Arrived Tristan 30 June > 9 days in lee > Offloading 9-10 July > 8 days in lee > Offloading & backloading 18-19 July > Departed Tristan 19 July > 6 day voyage > Arrived Cape Town 25 July.

Offloading at Tristan: Update from Fiona Kilpatrick and Cynthia Green

Sea conditions eased at last and allowed some offloading of MFV Edinburgh on Thursday 9th July and good progress made to transfer cargo ashore on 10th July, three weeks after the ship left Cape Town and five weeks after cargo was loaded early as a Covid-19 precuation. The two final barge runs were made in deteriorating conditions and the ship returned to the lee on Friday evening. On Saturday 11th the weather was extremely windy, with high swells. So, attempts to complete offloading and load passengers and mail for the return journey will be made from Monday 13th July.

Fiona Kilpatrick's photo shows MFV Edinburgh during offloading
on Friday 10th July three weeks after the ship departed from Cape Town.

Fiona Kilpatrick's photo shows the MFV Edinburgh off Tristan on Monday 6th July
in a continuing swell which prevented any offloading.

Arrival at Tristan

MFV Edinburgh arrived at the island at about 9pm on Tuesday 30th June 2020, but has been in the lee of the island since then as the sea conditions have not been good for offloading. It was hoped to bring the cargo ashore (there are no passengers) on Sunday 5th July, sixteen days after departing from Cape Town, but seas had not calmed enough and on Monday 6th July not only had no offloading taken place, but sea conditions were not looking good for the next few days!

Another view of the Edinburgh on 6th July from Fiona Kilpatrick.

Ship departs from Cape Town

Report with updates from Tristan Administrator Steve Townsend

MFV Edinburgh departed from Cape Town on Friday 19th June 2020.

This ship's passage is unique as the vessel contains no passengers due to Covid-19 precautions and the cargo is limited. Fresh fruit and vegetables, alcohol and tobacco are not carried but the island will stock up on basic foodstuffs, fuel, medicines and other essential supplies which are aboard. The lack of alcohol and tobacco reflects a temporary ban on their sale in South Africa during the coronavirus crisis and the need to prioritise essential food supplies.

Chief Islander James Glass has confirmed that no island stevedores will be boarding the ship to unload, as the vessel will discharge onto island inshore vessels with her own crew. Onboard are approximately 200 crates, and much needed gas for domestic cooking and water heating and fuel for vehicles.

Unfortunately, the six islanders and an expat nurse still resident in Tristan House will have to wait for a subsequent sailing. There are another eight islanders are in lockdown in the UK with uncertain travel arrangements to get back home. Travel plans for non-South African expats on the island, and those taking up contracts are all uncertain as the South African airports remain closed for commercial flights.

The ship is expected to turn-around as quickly as sea conditions allow in mid-winter. Out-going passengers will be confirmed as usual on departure, but these will be limited because of the travel situation in South Africa.

The forward shipping schedule cannot be published as usual due to the dynamic situation caused by Covid-19 travel precautions. A priority is to retain Tristan da Cunha's enviable status as a Covid-19-free oasis as the island remains free of the virus. The population, with a high proprtion of elderly people, also has a very high incidence of ashthma which make the community particulaly vulnerable to any Covid-19 introduction. Therefore, the island remains on high alert to continue to protect the population.

MFV Edinburgh anchored off Tristan da Cunha in 2019