St Helena Online


Work ‘in hand’ on inter-islands link – but no answer yet

The RMS St Helena approaches Ascension Island - but not for much longer
The RMS St Helena approaches Ascension Island – but not for much longer

The British government has been asked how people and supplies will be transported between St Helena and other islands in the South Atlantic after the RMS St Helena is withdrawn from service in 2016.

But no clear answer has emerged in response to a written question in the House of Lords by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham – one of the figures behind the revival of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on St Helena.

His question was:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the future reliability of inter-island links in the South Atlantic for the transport of imports and exports and the mobility of labour in the South Atlantic British Overseas Territories after the St Helena airport is operational and the RMS St Helena ceases to operate.”

Baroness Warsi (Conservative) has replied:

“We are working closely with the St Helena and Ascension authorities as plans are developed for the transportation of supplies and passengers domestically among the islands after the introduction of air access to St Helena.

“These plans are progressing although work remains to be done in the run up to the opening of the airport and the withdrawal of the Royal Mail Ship St Helena service.”

Ascension shuttle is ‘do-able’, says would-be airline chief

Flights to Ascension would be economically “do-able” when St Helena’s airport opens, according to the chief executive of the proposed Atlantic Star airline.


Captain Richard Brown
Captain Richard Brown

Captain Richard Brown said his team was keen to provide a service for Saints working on the island – but it could not be frequent.

He and a team of fellow pilots and business advisers hope to set up Atlantic Star as a dedicated airline for St Helena to meet the highly unusual challenges of flying to the island.

“Ascension we see as do-able,” he said. “We see it as something that we would want to do but it certainly wouldn’t be as frequent as a weekly service, simply because I can’t see enough tourist traffic to sustain it. 

“Part of the issue would be that the pilots and cabin crew who’ve just operated out of Europe down to the island would not be rested in order to carry out another service on to Ascension, which means we would have to base pilots and cabin crew on the island.

“However, when you look at a number of Saints, a few tourists, perhaps some military personnel moving backwards and forwards and some cargo, then we see it as a route that could be viable.”

The same was not true for flights between St Helena and the Falkland Islands, he said – despite speculation that it was seen as a strategic alternative to the military route via Ascension Island.

The distance involved would mean the aircraft would have to carry a heavy load of fuel – leaving less room for people and cargo.

Captain Brown said: “We have run a feasibility study and it is possible to operate down to the Falklands; not with a full passenger load because of the length of the runway at St Helena.

“Simply, you can’t lift enough weight off the runway to get down there, but we could do it with a restricted passenger load.

“We see operating from St Helena to the Falklands as potentially challenging, and it’s not easy for us to make a commercial case for it.”

Airline dream that began with a map on the kitchen floor
No flights from London? Woah, I’m going to Barbados…

Atlantic Star Airlines
St Helena Airport project

New stamps honour Maggie. She had the Argies licked

stamp 200The Falkland Islands Post Office is to issue a set of stamps to honour Baroness Thatcher for liberating the islands after the Argentinian invasion of 1982.

The islands already celebrate Thatcher Day each year on 10 January, the anniversary of her post-victory visit to the islands in 1983.

The stamps will be released on 16 May 2013.

Read more here.

Oil boom brings housing need on Falklands

The Falklands look set to get their own version of Bradley’s Camp, the temporary housing being used for airport workers on St Helena. Mercopress reports that a developer is being asked to build two 200-bed blocks of accommodation in Stanley, ready for an expected influx of oil industry workers. Read more

Batelco completes buyout of Cable & Wireless; includes Falklands, St Helena and Ascension services

Now let’s see what greater synergies and pricing are brought to the island to benefit the community.

Batelco Group (Ticker: BATELCO), the regional telecommunications operator headquartered in Bahrain, today announced the finalisation of its recent acquisition of various companies from Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which comprise its Monaco and Islands Division.

Batelcos Group Chief Executive Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa and CWC announced that, following the agreement entered into with CWC on 2 Dec 2012, all necessary regulatory approvals and conditions precedent have now been satisfied and ownership of specific companies has now been transferred to Batelco, effective today.

“As a result of this deal and the further diversification of our business we have the opportunity to deliver greater innovation and value to our customers across many markets whilst also enhancing our ability to maintain strong levels of profitability and to deliver on our commitments to shareholders,” concluded Shaikh Mohamed.

Press release
More about Batelco

Marathon relief: chef in bomb suit gets more than a red nose

Falklands governor Nigel Haywood has completed the Stanley Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 30 minutes and 1 second – on his birthday.

He was nearly three times as fast as chef David Bradley, who predicted he’d be a bit of a plodder on his online fund-raising page:

“I’m doing a marathon in a 45kg bomb disposal suit for Red Nose Day because I’M STUPID!!”

The first male and female islanders to finish were Richard Short and Lindsay Sutcliffe. The race winner was Andrew Van Kints, a pilot from Cheltenham, UK, who finished in under three hours. The fastest woman was Dawn Teed, partner of previous winner Hugh Marsden.

Picture of Governor Haywood with his medal
David Bradley’s fund-raising page

Are there places more British than the UK?

The Falkland Islands are not the only far-off territory to still feel British, writes Vanessa Barford in the BBC News Magazine.

While the world’s media focuses on the referendum on the Falklands, she says the 4,200 people on St Helena also have a very strong sense of Britishness.

She quotes Tara Thomas, who was the island’s youngest councillor: “Jamestown is like a small village in 1950s Britain, with Georgian buildings with high ceilings. There’s a place called Scotland, which is very cold. We have roasts on Sundays, cricket and football are big sports.”

Read more here.

Contributed by Guy Gatien

Falklands vote must be unbiased, warns chief exec

A planned referendum on the future sovereignty of the Falkland Islands could be an embarrassing disaster if it is not properly managed, the chief executive of the islands’ government has warned.

The referendum has been called to spell out islanders’ feelings about whether to remain a British overseas territory, in response to political pressure from Argentina.

Keith Padgett told a public meeting the precise wording of the question used in the referendum must be “unbiased” if it is to give the world a message that “we are responsible and we know what form of governance we want.”

St Helenians with resident status in the islands are expected to be eligible to take part in the vote.

A full report appears in Penguin News, the islands’ newspaper

Falklands website promotes world-beating fishery

A new marketing website has been launched by the leading seafood exporter on the Falkland Islands, six months after it set up a distribution company in Holland.

Fortuna’s website highlights its ability to ship fish directly from the South Atlantic in temperature-controlled containers, after freezing catches on board its vessels. The range of export products is being expanded.

The site also offers information on fishing seasons and the habits of species in “one of the best-managed fisheries in the world,” reports Mercopress.


Falklands’ flying piglets land in wrong country

Five piglets that were being flown to the Falklands to refresh the island’s pig gene pool found themselves landing in Chile instead. Their flight was diverted because of snow, reports BBC News online.

The Falkland Islands vet, Zoe Luxton, flew from the UK with the “very laid-back” piglets.

Flight company director Jon Jeffery said: “They have now been on board for a while, but it’s nice and warm, they have lots of food, automatic drinking water, and two engineers have stayed in the hold to keep them company until we can take them off.”

Flying pigs’ Falklands trip delayed by snowstorm – BBC News