History is set to be made on St Helena this Wednesday, when the Basil Read supply ship is due to be become the first cargo vessel ever to dock at the island.
The finishing touches have been applied to a temporary jetty in Rupert’s Bay and three vast pneumatic fenders have been delivered to the island in readiness for the berthing of the NP Glory 4.
The ship is 78 metres long and has a draught of 3.5 metres when fully laden, and is technically classed as a landing craft. She will bring all the raw materials needed for construction of the island’s first airport.
Most of Rupert’s Valley will be closed to visitors but islanders will be able to board buses down to the waterside, allowing them to spend up to 20 minutes viewing operations.
The ship departed Walvis Bay on 4 July, with 17 crew, plus Captain Bill Langworthy – a familiar name on St Helena from his time with Andrew Weir Shipping, the company that manages the RMS St Helena.
She is expected to reach St Helena on the afternoon of Tuesday, carrying various construction vehicles, including a bus, a 60-tonne mobile crane and a 70 tonne excavator.
She is then expected to be anchored in Ruperts Bay while the captain assesses local sea conditions, and then berth on Wednesday.
She will remain alongside during daylight hours but will return to her anchorage out in Ruperts Bay between approximately 6pm and 6am.
The vessel is expected to remain in Ruperts Bay for three days, and then commence a regular 22-day cycle of round trips between St Helena and Walvis Bay.
While she is in port, Lower Ruperts will be closed from the junction near St Michael’s Church.
Bus trips will run on Wednesday between 9am and 1pm from St Michael’s.
Mundens path will also be closed throughout this period
Ruperts residents, businesses and emergency vehicles will still be permitted access to Lower Ruperts at all times.
First of the excavation equipment moves to Prosperous Bay Plain – St Helena Community website
NP Glory 4 – Basil Read ship