St Helena Online

Tag: Andrew Weir Shipping

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

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.

Life’s a blast for RMS St Helena refit team

The framework of the ship's hull is laid bare as hold floor panels are removed
No, that’s not the new cabins: work goes on in the hold of the RMS St Helena

Heavy weather that has delayed the Basil Read airport supply ship on its return to Walvis Bay has also held up the RMS St Helena’s refit in Cape Town. CAPTAIN ANDREW GREENTREE reports.

How time flies when you are enjoying yourself. It has been a busy week.

We have had rain most of the time with strong south easterly winds. There have been short periods of bright sunshine, but these have been few and far between. On Sunday there were reports of snow across higher grounds.

Work has been progressing steadily. All spaces for the cabin upgrade have been stripped out. They are in the process of being rebuilt and are starting to look a bit like cabin spaces once again.

In the crew mess and rec the carpets have been renewed, all the furniture has been re-covered and the new portholes fitted. Work hasn’t started on the upgrade of the kids’ playroom yet.

The Gym arrived today (Tuesday 17 July 2012) and will be fitted on the funnel deck during the next week.

On deck, the blasting has been slower than normal, due to the rain. Areas being blasted are as follows: all of the underwater hull, poop deck, port and starboard fresh water tanks, and one ballast tank.

Both main cranes have been overhauled with new brakes fitted.  Work on both hatches with steel renewal continues. Both anchors and cable have been lowered to the dock and are in the process of being washed and marked, while the chain locker is being washed out.

A new “black box” has been installed on the bridge and preparations are being made for the new electronic chart display information system to be fitted in the next few days.

The two starboard lifeboats have been removed; all grab lines are being renewed, while on board we are renewing the wires on which the boats are lowered.

In the engine room the starboard gearbox has been completely stripped now and preparations are being made for the rebuild. Both tail shafts have been removed and are in the workshop being serviced. All propellor blades will be renewed.

The rudder pintles are ready to be checked but this can only be done once the blasting is complete and the area is free from dust.

The up-and-coming week will be a push for the finish line, as we hope to have a lot of the jobs completed ready for a mini sea trial towards the middle of next week.

Back-pedalling in mid-Atlantic: the new way to reach St Helena?
In pictures: RMS St Helena in dry dock

RMS St Helena