There was more ‘action’ than usual at Tilbury this weekend.
Firstly: the legendary RMS St. Helena was berthed at the cruise terminal as part of her farewell tour.
The Royal Mail Ship St. Helena was built in Aberdeen in 1989 specifically to supply the island of St Helena, a remote British Territory located 1,200 miles off the West Coast of Africa in the South Atlantic. She is British registered (London), 6,767 gross tonnes and has berths for a maximum of 156 passengers plus 56 officers and crew.
For the last 26 years RMS St Helena has been the only means of access to the island of St Helena. But the passenger and cargo ship, built specifically to supply the island, was due to be decommissioned (sold) later this year (2016) because St Helena’s first airport was to officially open in May.
However she may get a stay of execution because the airport has been suffering from wind-shear making it dangerous to land planes (See video below). In fact some say it may never open.
Secondly: Silver Wind (Silversea luxury cruises) passed by Tilbury in the afternoon on her way to moor along side the historic Battleship HMS Belfast, near tower bridge. She had come from Lisbon.
She’s just 16,800 gross tons, entered service in 1995 and carries just 294 passengers.
Although Silver Wind is a very small cruise ship by modern standards, she dwarfs St. Helena. In fact the two ships could not have been more differen.
On Sunday, CMV’s flagship ‘Magellan’ was berthed at Tilbury for her turn-around.