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RMS St Helena returns
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 Welcome renewal of links with South Atlantic island

 The Government-owned St Helena Lines passenger-cargo vessel RMS St Helena, serving St Helena and the United Kingdom’s Island Dependencies in the South Atlantic, makes a welcome return to her English terminal port, after twelve months absence at 0800 on Saturday 29th October.

In the year since her last visit, the ship has been on a trial schedule that has kept her south of the equator, operating out of Capetown and Walvis Bay but, as announced by ship managers Andrew Weir Shipping in May, the call this week will be the first of two to Portland Port either side of Christmas. St Helena’s arrival will be well received by the St Helenian community and by the Island’s friends in Dorset. The link is an important one for Islanders living in this country and many will doubtless be joining Mrs Jenny Pattenden, Chairman of the St Helena Association in the UK, at the Port, when she meets friends and relations amongst the crew and the 40 or so passengers who will be disembarking.

St Helena Lines are members of the Niche Cruise Alliance and, before the ship sails on Wednesday 2nd November with two and a half thousand tonnes of cargo and some 70 passengers, the same number of UK travel agents will board on 1st November to be briefed on the attractions of St Helena for visitors seeking a unique holiday off the beaten track and on the very special cruise experience that the RMS, with its 128 berths, can provide. This initiative comes at a time when the profile of Portland Port as a cruise destination and point of embarkation is being raised through its recent membership of Destination South West, the regional cruise marketing organisation, hitherto restricted to Devon and Cornwall but now to include Dorset ports and tourist destinations. At the same time, the Britannia Passenger Terminal, through which RMS St Helena’s passengers will pass, has had a facelift and plans are in hand to extend it to cater for turnaround visits by larger ships.

Throughout the ship’s absence, Portland-based Albion Shipping Services, have continued to organise the shipping by other means of cargo and personal items destined for the Island. This has included the books collected by the Portland churches for distribution by St Helena Social Services. The Reverend David Botterill, vicar of St John’s Church and Missions to Seafarers Chaplain on Portland, is the co-ordinator of this work and reports that he is preparing another consignment, which will be despatched when the ship next calls in March 2006.

John Healy, Portland Port’s General Manager (Operations and Marketing) spoke for many others when he said that the Port was looking forward, once again, to working with the sole remaining Royal Mail Ship and renewing acquaintances with her Captain, officers and crew. “RMS St Helena and Saint Helenians are always welcome at Portland. We like to think that there is an affinity between the two islands and we hope to strengthen those links over the coming years.” 


Last modified: 23-02-2009 © Albion Robotics Ltd, 2009