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Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on updates on the RMS St Helena’s final movement and its service to St Helena. The announcement of the Airports delayed opening yesterday must had an impact on the RMS St Helena’s future and its role in the South

RMS St Helena unloading cargo in James Bay

RMS St Helena unloading cargo in James Bay

Atlantic, however the last journey to the UK continues as scheduled, The RMS St Helena is due to arrive at The port of Tilbury on the 5th June which lies on the north shore of the River Thames, 25 miles downstream from London Bridge. On arrival at the port of Tilbury The RMS will disembark passengers and cargo before she begins her journey up river on June 7th  2016 where she will be moored next to HMS Belfast at Queens walk in London. (For satnav users SE1 2JH) During the time The RMS is in London, various receptions will be hosted on board to promote St Helena as a tourist destination and also to promote investment opportunities.

Funnel Deck RMS St Helena

Funnel Deck RMS St Helena

The RMS will be opened to the public on June 11th 2016, this will take place at the cruise terminal and she will accommodate up to 500 visitors between 9am and 5pm, visitors will need to apply for a ticket to visit the RMS.  Details on how to obtain tickets for the visit will be released shortly.

RMS St Helena in James bay

RMS St Helena in James bay St Helena Island

The RMS will depart the same evening to start loading cargo and she will return to the cruise terminal on Monday 13th June to prepare for a final farewell reception this will be followed by the loading of passengers and the RMS is expected to depart on Tuesday the 14th June 2016.  The RMS St Helena which is 6,767 tonnes of steel was built in 1989 in Aberdeen. It was built to replace the original old RMS St Helena (Northland Prince) which was built in 1963. The RMS originally was estimated to cost £19.5 million to build with a capacity of a maximum of 128 passengers and 56 crew members. Currently the ship has a capacity of carrying 55 crew members, 156 passengers and up to 1,800 tons of cargo. This was after it was upgraded to meet the demand of the Saints and passengers who visit the Island. The upgrade which was done in 2012 included fitting an additional 24 cabin berths and a new gym. The ship has been the only bridge between St Helena Island and the World since it commenced its services in 1990. It was however launched by Prince Edward on 31st October 1989. The RMS St Helena has been of service to the Saints for almost 26 years. The RMS St Helena and Cunard’s Queen Mary are the only two Royal Mail Ships designated passenger vessels remaining worldwide. The ship has been the only means of getting supplies to St Helena. It has been responsible for ensuring that St Helena have access to household goods, food, cars, tools, automotive spare parts, paint, wind turbines and clothing. That’s not all as animals such as goats, sheep, and cattle all arrived to the Island aboard the ship.

Crew on board the MV JAson

RMS crew members on board the MV Jason

The ship used to operate the UK to St Helena route. Recently it mainly operated from Cape Town to Ascension Island with occasional voyages to Tristan da Cunha. All passengers traveling aboard the RMS has highlighted that the crew were always friendly and the hospitality has been at a very high standard, some of the crew members have serve on board for the entire life span of the ship, and she has at present two St Helena born captain’s (Captain Rodney Young and Captain Andrew Greentree.

Overlooking the sun deck

Overlooking the sun deck

The opening of the airport which is scheduled to open soon will bring a sigh of relief to St Helena, due to the many random failures over the years, on one occasion the RMS had an engine failure, This meant that the passengers and cargo it was ferrying to St Helena were delayed in getting home, after a quick reaction from the ships operators and St Helena Line The MV Jason a much smaller replacement ship was chartered from Greece to complete the journey to the Island in time for Christmas. The inhabitants will miss the unique experience the ship had offered for the past 25 years across the South Atlantic which is coming to an end. The RMS St Helena will remain as one the most important things in the Islands history. Its fame will be as memorable on St Helena as that of Napoleon and Jonathan the tortoise.

See our RMS Photo gallery here .

Read all about the RMS here.

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