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RMS St Helena sails late after crane hitch
The RMS crane and the bow of the RMS, approaching Ascension

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Lighters cluster round the RMS in James Bay ready to unload cargo
Unloading cargo would have been impossible unless the RMS crane problem was fixed. Picture: Guy Gatien

The RMS St Helena has departed Cape Town a day behind schedule after a computer software problem in the control system for its main crane, reports Saint FM.

The RMS crane and the bow of the RMS, approaching Ascension
The RMS crane could not be used to load at Cape Town

Captain Andrew Greentree said the vessel could not sail until the problem had been sorted out because it would not have been possible to unload cargo on arrival in James Bay.

Containers had been loaded at Cape Town with a shore-side crane.

A software expert on board the vessel helped staff sort out the problem overnight.

The ship completed a three-hour sea trial on Sunday evening after its two weeks in dry dock. Work on the engines was signed off by a Rolls Royce engineer.

The ship is carrying 79 passengers to St Helena, including Hema Soni, the new maths teacher. It sailed at lunchtime today (Monday 30 July 2012).

The Basil Read airport supply ship, NP Glory 4, is due to arrive off the island on Tuesday 31 July 2012. There would be no opportunities for the public to view unloading operations, but arrangements might be made for August.

Paul Blessington, the island’s Financial Secretary, has been receiving care in hospital in Cape Town after sailing to Walvis Bay on board the NP Glory 4, having been advised to seek urgent medical attention. No details of his condition have been released.

Governor Mark Capes gave an update on Paul’s situation after last week’s executive council meeting.

He said: “High seas had caused a prolonged and uncomfortable crossing to Walvis Bay. Paul finally went ashore just in time to catch the flight to Cape Town.  He is now in hospital there and undergoing tests.  We all send our best wishes to Paul for a speedy recovery.”

In pictures: RMS St Helena in dry dock
Finance chief leaves island urgently over health scare

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