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RMS St Helena to be repaired at sea as engineer flies in

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An engineer is being flown to the South Atlantic to conduct repairs at sea on St Helena’s supply ship.

The RMS St Helena has suffered a technical problem with the turbo-charger on its portside engine, meaning that the ship can currently travel on only one of its two engines.

Spare parts are being flown out with the engineer to Ascension Island, after “intensive work” by Andrew Weir Shipping, St Helena Government, Ascension’s administrator and the Royal Air Force.

The RMS is due to arrive off Ascension on Sunday 18 November 2012.

The replacement parts are due to be flown in early the next day and loaded aboard the ship, ready for it to sail for St Helena by midday.

Repairs will then be carried out at sea while the ship continues to St Helena on a single engine.

The plan is for the ship to reach James Bay early on the morning of Thursday 22 November and depart again at noon, a day later than scheduled.

The repair was first reported as the ship approached St Helena on its 1,700-mile voyage from Cape Town, on Tuesday 13 November.

The RMS St Helena has already been in service for longer than its intended lifespan, thanks to several years’ delays in signing a contract for St Helena’s new airport. It is now due to leave service in 2015. Officials have been looking into future options for sea transport.

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