The last sailings of the 6,767gt/1990 built RMS St. Helena in 2016 will include a rare visit to the UK. The two-week trip from the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena, via Tenerife, used to be a feature of the ship’s regular service, but in recent years it has been confined to a shuttle between Cape Town and Ascension, with an occasional diversion to Tristan da Cunha. The island’s first airport will open for business in May 2016 and the ship, which is the only regular link to the outside world for the 4,000 islanders, will be retired in July 2016.
The ship was built in Scotland in 1989, and until 2011 ran a service from Portland, Dorset, to the South Atlantic. She is one of only four vessels still to carry the Royal Mail Ship designation, the others being Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the RMS Segwun and the RMS Scillonian III. On her visit to London in 2016 (Voyage 242) the ship will pass under Tower Bridge and be moored alongside HMS Belfast from 5th to 14th June. The vessel, which carries cargo as well as passengers, will be at anchor in St. James Bay for the airport opening and for five days in July before the final sailing, which arrives in Cape Town on 15th July.