The Ascension Island Government website is currently being refreshed and updated. Some parts of the website may not be accessible, however, we are working hard to minimise any disruption.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause
At approximately 5.30 pm on Monday 24 July there was a serious shark attack at English Bay on Ascension Island involving one person.
Entering the sea is to be avoided until further notice.
Emergency Services and the Ascension Island Government are working closely together to ensure all necessary actions for the victim and public safety are being undertaken.
Further updates will be provided as soon as possible.
Announcement of Air Service between Ascension Island and St Helena
Ascension Island Government (AIG) is pleased to announce that they have signed an agreement with St Helena Government (SHG), for the provision of a monthly air charter service between Ascension and St Helena. This follows today’s announcement from SHG, regarding the signing of the air service contract with SA Airlink with a weekly service between Johannesburg, Windhoek and St Helena.
The key elements of the upcoming service between Ascension and St Helena will be as follows;
The press announcement and FAQ from SHG regarding the signing of the agreement with SA Airlink can be found at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/category/news/.
AIG will release further details in due course.
Ascension Island Government
21st July 2017
This information note sets out the current status of travel routes to/from Ascension Island. For further information about visiting Ascension Island (including entry permits), go to the ‘Visiting the Island’ page on the Ascension Island Government’s website; http://www.ascension-island.gov.ac/
Travel by Air:
As of 14th April 2017, the MOD decided to reroute the South Atlantic Airbridge via an alternative location. This decision was based on the MOD-assessed risk of continued use of the Airbus A330 Voyager aircraft, on the condition of the Wideawake runway. Therefore the South Atlantic Airbridge will no longer call at Ascension Island en route to the Falkland Islands, until the on-going full runway placement programme is completed on Ascension.
Please note this decision only effect the Airbus A330 Voyager aircraft, all other regular aircraft services continue as normal. This includes any emergency medical evacuation flights.
The MOD, United States Airforce (USAF), the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are working with the Ascension Island Government, to determine the feasibility of any interim options to enable the movement of people to and from Ascension by air.
If you are currently working on Ascension or are due to start a posting and you are concerned about the impact on your travel arrangements please contact your employer directly.
Tourists should be aware that the Ascension Island Travel Agency have cancelled all passenger flights to or from Ascension Island on the Voyager, until further notice. Ascension Island Travel Agency are liaising with all passengers with live bookings to advise them of this decision. However we would also suggest passengers make contact with their travel insurance provider. For further information or clarification about your booking, please contact email@example.com. However please note that the Ascension Island Travel Agency are unable to comment on when regular flights to and from Ascension may resume, or when any interim arrangement may be put into place and what it may consist of.
Travel by Sea:
The RMS St Helena continues to provide the main access route to Ascension Island by sea. After recently coming out of dry dock for urgent repairs, the ship will continue its route from South Africa (Cape Town) to St Helena and then on to Ascension Island. This service is currently scheduled until February 2018, or until the St Helena air service (via its airport) is in place. For further schedule information please see http://rms-st-helena.com/schedules-fares/.
If you are wishing to undertake a tourist visit to Ascension via the RMS St Helena, bookings can be made via the agents listed on the RMS website; http://rms-st-helena.com/contact-us/.
If you are planning to visit Ascension Island using your own vessel or yacht, please obtain further information on the Ascension Island Government’s website; http://www.ascension-island.gov.ac/visiting-the-island/. This will provide you with the necessary requirements prior to your travel.
For those who are currently working on Ascension Island with upcoming travel, you will now need to travel via the RMS St Helena. Please contact your employer to work through re-routing onto this service and approach your travel insurer.
It is envisaged that there will be a short-term increase in demand for RMS bookings, driven by the higher numbers of passengers needing to travel to and from Ascension by sea. Both Ascension Island Government and St Helena Government are aware of this and are working with the various stakeholders, in order to manage the demand levels.
Updated 16 May 2017
Ascension Island Government
TRAVEL BY AIR: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is re-routing the South Atlantic Airbridge via an alternative location. This is because the Airbus A330 Voyager aircraft used on the route between RAF Brize Norton, Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands is too heavy to land at Ascension Island. The decision to re-route means the South Atlantic Airbridge will no longer call at Ascension Island en route to the Falkland Islands for the foreseeable future.
The MOD and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are working with the Ascension Island Government to determine the feasibility of interim options to enable the movement of passengers to and from Ascension. This work will take some time to complete. At this stage, it is likely that any interim measure that may be put in place would allow for the transportation of essential personnel and goods only.
Ascension Island Travel Agency are unable to say when regular flights to and from Ascension Island may resume, or when any interim arrangement may be put in place. We do not expect South Atlantic Airbridge flights (operating with the Voyager aircraft) to recommence before 2019/20. Unfortunately, in light of this, we have no choice but to inform passengers that all RAF flights to or from Ascension Island on the Voyager are cancelled until further notice.
Ascension Island Travel Agency are liaising with all passengers with live bookings to advise them about this decision and to process refunds where applicable. For further information or clarification, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
TRAVEL BY SEA: Travellers wishing to visit Ascension Island are advised that the only regular service to and from Ascension Island is via the Royal Mail Ship St Helena. Further information about the RMS St Helena schedule and fares are can be found at: http://rms-st-helena.com/schedulesfares/ or from the Travel & Shipping Office at the Pierhead, in person or on +(247) 66244.
AITA acknowledge and apologise for the disruption and inconvenience that this will likely cause for travellers planning to visit Ascension Island in the coming months. You are advised to talk to your travel insurance provider at the earliest opportunity should you have bookings for connecting flights or accommodation.
Ascension Island Travel Agency 28 April 2017
On Tuesday 7th February Ascension Island took part in the UK and Overseas Territory wide ‘Safer Internet Day’.
Two Boats School took part in activities that encouraged pupils to think about the power of images on the internet. This is important in this age of instant information sharing, when ‘selfies’ and other photos can circulate round the world instantly.
Assemblies and activities were tailored to encompass the different age groups in the school. Alongside some fun activities the children learnt the serious message about how to stay safe online and what to do if something worries you.
It wasn’t only the children who got involved either, as a group of parents attended an information session giving them similar information as the children and opening their perspective to the ease of information sharing and how this information can be used by others.
Ascension Island Government, 16 February 2017
The last time the FCO’s Ben Merrick was on island was in October 2015 when Ascension was celebrating the Bicentenary since the British Garrison arrived.
Last week, on his way back to the UK from St Helena, Ben stopped over on Ascension for three days, catching up with former and new contacts and being briefed on current issues. On his first day, Ben was able to attend a meeting of the Ascension Safeguarding Board, following which members of the AIG team gave him a tour of the island’s infrastructure which will be the subject of a FCO review in the coming months.
Day 2 started early with discussions with the Island’s major Employers and a tour of the runway. Later in the day Ben (who was joined by Shahbaz Baloch, FCO) attended an informal meeting of the Island Council, where the Employment Law revision and diesel fuel supply for cars were discussed. As the HMS Portland and RFA Gold Rover were in port, Ben joined the Administrator in welcoming Captain Stroude and officers from both ships, along with visitors and locals, to afternoon tea at the Residency.
The delay in the airbridge gave both Ben and Shahbaz a further opportunity to explore Ascension and they were able to enjoy a walk around the recently-restored Elliots path as well as seeing turtles laying on Long Beach.Ben also assisted in ‘rescuing’ a stranded turtle at Deadman’s Beach!
Ben has been the Deputy Director for the Overseas Territories since July 2015 and has direct oversight of the Southern Oceans Department (encompassing British Indian Ocean Territory, Falklands, St Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha and Pitcairn) and the Child Safeguarding Unit.
Ascension Island Government
6 February 2017
Following the tragic drowning of Private Fenton Matthew earlier this year, a decision was made to enhance the safety of all users at English Bay by installing a large tailor-made life-saving buoy in the waters, which would serve as a point of refuge should anyone experience any difficulties while swimming. Thus, through the combined effort and generous donations from several island organizations and individuals, a custom made buoy was devised, ordered and delivered to Ascension.
The buoy is three meters in diameter, weighs in at 800kg and has a guaranteed lifespan of 10–15+ years. The core is made from closed cell polyethylene foam core and is surrounded by a yellow 12mm thick polyurethane nylon reinforced elastomer skin – three hull step cutouts were incorporated into the design to allow for easy access. The AIG Marine team completed the ensemble with the addition of grab ropes and a mast complete with LED warning lamp.
On Tuesday 15 November, a small gathering was held at the pier head, where the Administrator Marc Holland outlined the reasoning behind the purpose of the buoy and what is hoped it will achieve in the future. Thanks were extended to Wg Cdr Andy Pittock (RAF), the MOD, Paul Mildon (Babcock), Duncan Smith (CSO), Ray Ellick (Sure) and Major Daniel Schempp (USAF) for their company/individual contributions towards the overall cost, with special thanks also being extended to Wg Cdr Pittock for arranging free passage for the buoy on the FIRS – a huge cost saving. Recognition was also given to the AIG Marine team for all the hard work that had gone into adding the final touches, as to Carl Thomas and Richard Joshua for arranging the overall design. The ceremony was then concluded with a blessing given by Father Jack Horner, a few photos and the chance for folk to examine the buoys features..
The buoy is now in place in the waters at English Bay, where it is hoped that it will prove a useful means of providing additional safety to all users of this area.
Just a small reminder…the main function of this buoy is to provide refuge for swimmers in distress, it is not a mooring buoy and therefore boat owners should refrain from tying up to it at any point in time. Your co-operation in this is greatly appreciated.
Ascension Island today celebrated the opening of its Commonwealth Walkway around Georgetown. The Commonwealth Walkway is a 7 km pathway connecting 10 of Georgetown’s historical highlights which can be enjoyed as a continuous route over a couple of hours or in sections.
The Walkway begins outside the AIG Government offices and is marked by a plaque and a panel showing the route and giving historical context to the points along the Walkway. These points of interest can be explored in more detail by downloading full details of the route from The Outdoor Trust (paper copies also available from the Ascension Island Conservation Office).
The Walkway was officially opened by Captain of the RMS St Helena, Captain Rodney Young, at an opening ceremony attended by representatives of the Heritage Society and members of the community. The Administrator, Marc Holland, also made a short speech, encouraging locals and tourists alike to explore the Walkway. The Administrator paid special thanks to Hugo Vickers and Jim Walker of the Outdoor Trust for approaching Ascension with the great idea in the first place and the Ascension Heritage Society, in particular Helen Scott and Drew Avery, for their full support, including raising funds for the project and helping to arrange today’s ceremony.
The project has been made possible through the support of the Ascension Island Heritage Society and the Ascension Island Government and is the brainchild of The Outdoor Trust. Her Majesty The Queen has given The Outdoor Trust permission to create walkways in cities throughout the Commonwealth, marked with Her personal Royal cypher. The Trust plans to create 100 new walkways in the main towns and cities of the Commonwealth’s 71 nations and territories in the next four years. The first Commonwealth Walkway was opened in Windsor in November 2015.
The Commonwealth Walkways will be within reach of two billion people and all will be dedicated to The Queen’s unfailing service and leadership as Head of the Commonwealth for more than 65 years. The Walkways will thread together 3,000 of the most significant highlights of the Commonwealth and each will be marked permanently with a large bronze plaque displaying The Queen’s personal EIIR Royal cypher.
Special thanks are due to the MOD for arranging the safe transport of the panel and plaques and to AIG staff for their work to ensure the installation of the panel.
More information about the Commonwealth Walkways can be found at the website of The Outdoor Trust.
On 19 February, SHG announced the conclusion of a shipping contract with AW Ship Management Ltd. AWSM will provide a sea freight service between Ascension and Cape Town via St Helena every two months. As per the RMS, the service will be able to ship cars, sea containers, personal belongings and freezer goods. Pricing information will be released shortly but is expected to show a modest increase over the subsidised RMS service. A few berths will also be available on each voyage between the islands. However, the principal means for transporting people between the islands will be a monthly air service with Comair.
Commenting on the agreement the Administrator, Marc Holland, said: ‘This is good news for the many people on Ascension who rely mainly on imports from South Africa and St Helena. It provides welcome security to Saints working on Ascension that they will be able to ship their belongings home. I will do another round of public meetings in the first week of March to answer any questions and to provide an update on the negotiations now underway with Comair on the details of the air link service. I am grateful to the Governor and Councillors on St Helena for supporting the many months of hard and complex work by SHG officials to ensure that a sea freight service will operate between the two islands when the RMS service ends.’
Governor Mark Capes said: ‘This important agreement with AWSM is the product of many months of demanding work and I warmly congratulate all concerned in bringing the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion. I know that it will be especially welcome news for Saints on Ascension who were understandably anxious to know that a freight service would be in place when the RMS service ends later this year. The interests of the Saint community on Ascension are never far from the minds of their family and friends in SHG and in the private sector here on St Helena. As in other areas of activity of mutual concern, this agreement is testimony to that and to the close cooperation between AIG and SHG.’
The full press release from SHG can be found on the SHG website.
AIG, 22 February