RMS St HELENA stops calling at Walvis Bay from today

Feb 17, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

The Royal Mail ship RMS St Helena, which is the last operating British mailship, is due in Walvis Bay today (17 February) for the last time.

For some years the ship has called at Walvis Bay and on occasion at Luderitz while voyaging both ways between Cape Town and the South Atlantic islands of St Helena and Ascension. When the service to the Namibian ports was introduced it was greeted with enthusiasm, not only by Namibians but also South Africans and others who saw it as an opportunity to cruise between Cape Town and Walvis Bay or vice versa.

However the numbers never kept up and it has now become unsustainable for the ship’s operator, Andrew Weir Shipping and the decision has been taken to withdraw the Namibian port calls.

RMS St Helena will now sail direct between Cape Town and St Helena in both directions. Even this service has been under threat with an indication by the British government that it would build an airfield on the island. Subsequent economic cutbacks in the UK saw this proposal fall away last year, much to the dismay and annoyance of St Helena islanders who felt let down by the British government. So the mailship continues as the only regular reliable link between the island. The ship also undertakes cruises to the even more remote Tristan da Cunha.

Pics of the day – CRYSTAL SERENITY

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Crystal Cruises’ magnificent 68,870-gt cruise ship CRYSTAL SERENITY has just concluded another cruise along the South African coast, calling at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban and is now heading north along the Mozambique Channel for Zanzibar, where the ship is due tomorrow. While in Cape Town passengers on board were treated to some unusual weather conditions, which produced these rolling cloud formations over the mountain. Pictures by Ian Shiffman.

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