Helena Line has announced that it is to withdraw the Passenger Cargo Royal Mail Ship St Helena from service in July 2016 and has appointed London ship broker CW Kellock & Co Ltd to handle her sale.
Operated by St Helena Line Ltd (SHL) on behalf of the St Helena Government (SHG), she has been part of the Island’s history for over quarter of a century and provided the sole regular means of access to the Island; a remote UK Overseas Territory located 1200 miles off the West coast of Africa in the South Atlantic.
The ship was built in the UK in 1990 specifically for the St Helena route. At 6,767 gross tons, she can accommodate 156 passengers in 56 cabins, together with a cargo capacity of 3750 cbm bale, and 92 teu (of which 17 reefer). She is staffed by 56 officers and crew.
She is one of only four ships left in the world which has the right to carry the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) prefix. She currently operates out of Cape Town calling at both St Helena and Ascension Island on a regular schedule.
Her withdrawal is set to follow shortly after the opening of the first Airport on St Helena. Due to officially open on May 21st 2016, the new Airport will handle the bulk of passenger movements to and from the Island.
The RMS St Helena is now embarked on the final part of her program and in the coming weeks will call at Tristan da Cunha and then make a farewell voyage north to the UK where she will visit the Port of London and be moored alongside HMS Belfast off Tower Pier from 7th to 10th June 2016.
SHL has appointed the highly experienced London ship brokers CW Kellock & Co Ltd (Part of the Eggar Forrester Group), to handle the sale and it is hoped that a buyer can be found to continue to operate the vessel elsewhere in the world.
Commenting on the sale process and her withdrawal from service, SHL’s Chairman, Matt Young said, “The RMS St Helena has played a vital role in sustaining St Helena’s population and, for the past 26 years has been the sole means of regular access to the Island.
“Her combined passenger accommodation and cargo design makes her well suited to a range of different trading options and we are confident that she can continue to play an important operational role elsewhere in the world”.