St Helena Online

Tag: Walvis Bay

Alien discovery sparks international beetle drive

The remains of one of the beetle stowaways, with its distinctive swept-back wings. Picture courtesy of St Helena Government
The remains of one of the beetle stowaways, with its distinctive swept-back wings. Picture courtesy of St Helena Government

Three stowaways have been found hitching a ride to St Helena’s airport, nearly two years before it is even due to open.

Even though they had no papers on them, David Pryce of St Helena National Trust had no trouble identifying them as pachylomera femoralis – giant flattened dung beetles.

Their remains were spotted in the back of a trailer by Basil Read workers who were assembling new plant in upper Rupert’s Valley.

The discovery sparked a bio-security alert, and was promptly reported to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD).

Giant flattened dung beetles burrow beside fresh dung of various mammals for feeding, as well as rolling away balls of dung to brood their young. They are attracted to a wide range of dung types, carrion and fermenting fruit. Their native distribution is wide, from South Africa up to the Congo.

Basil Read has mapped the trailer’s journey from Port Elizabeth on the coast of South Africa up to Walvis Bay in Namibia, where it was loaded on to the company’s supply vessel.

A press release from St Helena Government said: “The beetles are believed to be attracted to lights and they probably fell into the open trailer while it was parked under security lights at some point.”

Ravi Michael, logistics manager for Basil Read on St Helena said the discovery was investigated swiftly so that any weaknesses in biosecurity could be closed up.

RMS St Helena lands patient at Walvis Bay and sails on

A patient has been transferred to hospital in Namibia from the RMS St Helena after the ship diverted by 399 nautical miles to put them ashore.

St Helena Government issued for the following statement on Tuesday, 28 January 2014:

At 2.30pm this afternoon, local time, the RMS arrived at the pilot station in Walvis Bay, Namibia, as planned.
Shortly after, two paramedics came onboard from a launch, and the patient was prepared for evacuation. The transfer went smoothly and family members accompanied the patient, who has now been transferred to hospital.
At 3.40pm local time, the operation was complete and the RMS departed Walvis Bay for St Helena. The RMS will monitor her speed over the next 12 hours and advise accordingly on the estimated time of arrival at St Helena.
Credit goes to the crew and medical team for a rapid and professional response.

No information has been given about the nature of the medical emergency that prompted the rare decision to change course on Monday, two days after the ship left Cape Town.

RMS St Helena diverts to Walvis Bay in medical emergency

St Helena’s supply ship changed course for Walvis Bay because of a medical emergency, it was announced on Monday (27 January 2014).

The statement from St Helena Line Ltd did not say whether the situation involved an incident on board the ship, nor whether the patient was one of the 122 passengers.

The RMS St Helena was 399 miles from the Namibian port, two days out from Cape Town, when the decision was taken during the afternoon.

The ship was expected to reach port at about 14.30 hours the following day, steaming at just over 16 knots.

“Options are currently being pursued to deal with the situation at Walvis Bay,” said the statement.

The ship had been due to reach St Helena on Thursday, 30 January. Arrival in James Bay was expected to be at 20.00 on Friday evening, or at 06.00 on Saturday – when the ship was scheduled to travel on to Ascension.

  • A special meeting of the Executive Council was due for Tuesday, 28 January, to discuss the sailing schedule for the RMS St Helena for the year 2015-16: previously reported to the be ship’s last year of serving the island before the opening of its airport ion February 2016.

First gray whale spotted south of the equator

Namibia sighting suggests much-hunted whales are regaining ancient migratory routes, or may be down to climate disruption.

Keep your eyes open on deck while traveling to or from Walvis Bay. You might catch a rare glimpse of the mighty Gray Whale. You won’t catch this view from the Air!

Of course you won’t have the opportunity on the RMS St Helena since that service was cancelled in 2010.

Astonishing news from Walvis Bay, Namibia, where scientists from the Namibian Dolphin project on Tuesday confirmed the sighting of a gray whale. Not only has this north Pacific species been extinct in the Atlantic since the 18th century, it has never been seen south of the equator.

Airport supply ship set to make island history

The Basil Read ship, being loaded at Walvis Bay

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.

Large fender covered in tyres, pictured on shore
Three pneumatic fenders will cushion the Basil Read ship against the new jetty

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.

Yellow vehicle with catarpillar tracks
This 70-tonne excavator will trundle up the airport haul road

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