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Seamount Report Document

In May and June 2017 the Ascension Island Government Conservation & Fisheries Department, together with academic partners, conducted a research expedition to three seamounts within the Ascension Island EEZ. This research was facilitated with financial assistance from the European Union, the Darwin Initiative and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The research objective was to gather information to inform protection and management measures for these ecologically important structures, the results and analyses being compiled into a report document

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Ascension Island Marine Protected Area Evidence and Options Document

AIG Conservation have been working with partners to prepare an Evidence and Options paper for a Marine Protected Area around the island.  We would welcome people’s views on this document by 31st December so they can be considered by the Ascension Island Council ahead of their recommendation in early 2019. Please send your responses to conservationenquiries@ascension.gov.ac.

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Airlink | Tickets now on sale!

Ascension Island Government is pleased to announce that tickets for the Airlink service between Ascension Island and St Helena are now on sale.  Bookings can be made through the Travel & Shipping office.

Please click here for more detail about the monthly Airlink service, including frequently asked questions, and for information about how to book.

Airlink will operate a monthly service between Ascension Island and St Helena from November 2017.  This is an extension of the weekly Airlink service between St Helena and South Africa which begins on 14 October 2017.

Flights to Ascension Island will commence on Saturday 18 November 2017.

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Travel To/From Ascension Island

Following the rerouting of the Airbridge last week, we appreciate that there is
considerable anxiety on island.

We are working incredibly hard with MOD and the Foreign Office to find a solution to
the current access issues as soon as we can, with the Administrator, Marc Holland,
working from the UK as part of those discussions.
Ministers are being kept up to date with the issues and the potential solutions, and
we are in discussions with local organisations to find solutions taking account of
essential passenger movements, and the needs of vital public services.
The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) will continue to provide access to the island and is
scheduled to run until February 2018 on its normal schedule. The next RMS is
scheduled to leave the dry dock on 3 May. However, this service is fully booked, and
affected employees should contact their employers about their transport
arrangements.

The tender process is underway to provide an airlink to St Helena in the very near
future including a minimum of a monthly flight to Ascension. The FIRS cargo service
remains unaffected and will continue to operate as normal.

We are working with the MOD to find an interim option to allow the movement of
personnel both to and from Ascension. However it is likely that these interim
measures will allow only the transportation of essential personnel and goods.
Until further notice, we suggest you work with your employer to re-route via St
Helena on the RMS and approach your travel insurance regarding any financial
losses incurred.

If you have any concerns please contact aigenquiries@ascension.gov.ac in the first
instance. For commercial passengers please contact Ascension Island Flight
Bookings on flight.bookings@ascension.gov.ac
Ascension Island Government
Administrator’s Office
Georgetown
Ascension Island
27th April 2017

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Shark Awareness

As people are aware there have been an unusually large number of sharks around Ascension Island this last year and several Islander articles informing people of this increased abundance and the records of sightings collected so far have been published. AIG has also provided bins at the pier-head and asked fishermen to dispose of their fish waste in these bins in an attempt to remove the association of sharks with a constant food source in this area. These regular sightings at the pier-head saw social swimming there stopped (ie NY jump cancelled) as members of the public could see the sharks from the pier. However as shark sightings at Comfortless Cove and English Bay were limited the public continued to use the beaches to swim in the sea.
The recent shark attack incident has prompted a need to reassess the safety of swimming in any of Ascension waters, whether there has been a shark sighting or not. We must now of course accept that these beaches can no longer be considered safer than the pier-head for the public to use.
This is the first recorded shark incident on a swimmer in Ascension; however the increased number of sharks in our waters has brought this endangered species into conflict with swimmers at one of our traditionally safe swimming locations. Though it is worth bearing in mind that shark attacks are rare the recent incident is a reminder that we share the water with an apex predator and they deserve every respect when we enter their ocean.
Therefore we would advise that people don’t take unnecessary risks and ensure that both humans and sharks are given their own space to remain safe. See below some guidelines for entering waters in areas with known shark sightings/incidents.
It is not AIG’s intention to impose legal restrictions on people using the beaches and/or entering the sea. As with the swell conditions, any swimming in the sea is at the public’s own risk, if in doubt, don’t go in.
Warning signs are in place on the two public beaches. General guidance as to the presence of sharks in the waters will also be added to the usual safe swimming briefing given at the airhead and to visiting vessels.

Guidance for entering the water in areas with known shark sightings
• Check out the water before entering where possible – go to higher ground and look to see if any sharks are in the area – though of course be aware that sharks can still enter an area later on.
• Stay out of the water at dawn, early evening, and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed on fish or baby turtles. Sharks are well equipped to locate prey even when visibility is poor.
• Avoid areas where fish waste enters the water.
• It is prudent not to enter the water with an open wound, however small it may be.
• After large swells the waters can become murky – avoid swimming during murky sea conditions.
• Do not wear high-contrast clothing (orange and yellow are said to be risky colours) or shiny jewellery (which may appear to be like fish scales). Sharks see contrast very well.
• Refrain from excessive splashing. Keep pets, which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are attracted to such activity.
• Leave the water quickly and calmly if a shark is sighted. Do not provoke, harass, or entice a shark, even a small one.
• If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. They may be behaving like that because there is a shark in the area.
• Experts suggest that incidents with sharks are more common on lone swimmers – swim, surf, or dive with other people to reduce risk.
• If you are diving and are approached by a shark, stay as still as possible. If you are carrying fish or other catches, release the catch and quietly leave the area.
Though not thought to be connected with the recent incident we would like to reiterate our policy of preventing the regular discarding of fish waste into the sea by using the bins provided. The regular source of food encourages the sharks to that area and gives them reason to remain there. Please also take your food and fish waste away from English Bay and Comfortless Cove to be disposed of at home or in the bins at the pier-head.

Ascension Island Government
Administrator’s Office
Georgetown
Ascension Island
24th April 2017

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Flight Bookings Suspended Until Further Notice

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) are temporarily re-routing the South Atlantic Airbridge via an alternative location and have decided to suspend operations to Ascension Island for the landing of the Airbus A330 (AirTanker Voyager) until further notice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and MOD are working closely to put in place measures to support the people who work on Ascension Island. Arrangements are currently being made to repatriate individuals currently on Ascension Island who are unable to travel back to the UK on the Airbridge due to the re-routing.

Unfortunately, Ascension Island Travel Agency (AITA) is unable to process any further flight bookings (new bookings or amendments) until we have clarity about an alternative service to and from Ascension Island.

AITA will contact all passengers booked to travel to Ascension Island in the coming weeks to provide further information about their booking. However, please be advised that at this stage, all non-essential passengers are unlikely to be able to travel to Ascension Island.

A further update will be provided in due course.

Please contact the Director of Resources, Jamie Manson at jamie.manson@ascension.gov.ac or on +(247) 67000 extension 110 if you have any concerns regarding this matter.

19 April 2017

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Voyager Air Tanker Flights Suspended

As part of on-going monitoring of the state of repair of the Ascension Island’s runway, the MOD is temporarily rerouting the South Atlantic Airbridge via an alternative location and have decided to suspend operations to Ascension Island for landing the A330 (Voyager Air Tanker) until further notice.

The MOD will ensure the continuation of military support to the Falkland Islands through an alternative hub, and are working the Foreign Office to put in place measures to support the people who work on Ascension Island.

AIG will issue further updates once further information has been received from the MOD.

Please note this will not affect emergency medical evacuation flights.

For any immediate emergency concerns over the Easter bank holiday, please contact Iain Robertson, AIG’s Director of Operations.

For after the Easter bank holiday or for non-immediate concerns, please contact AIG’s Policy Officer Matt Pritchard-Evans on matthew.pritchard-evans@ascension.gov.ac or 247 67000 ext 116.

Ascension Island Government

 

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Commonwealth Walkway Unveiled on Ascension Island

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New Council Elected for Ascension Island

A new Council for Ascension Island has today been announced by Returning Officer Dean Hambleton-Ayling, following an Island-wide election on Thursday 1 September 2016.

The following candidates have been duly elected to serve as Members of the Ascension Island Council:

  • Samantha Jean Arms-Lawrence, Georgetown
  • Marie-Anne Mabel Dennis, Two Boats
  • Jacqueline Rose Ellick, Georgetown
  • Keturah Viola George, Georgetown
  • Nicholas Ivan John, Georgetown

Read more about the election results here.

Today Governor Lisa Phillips congratulated those elected to serve on the Ascension Island Council and noted the encouraging 80% female representation.

Governor Lisa Phillips said:

“Congratulations to those of you who have been elected to serve as Councillors of Ascension Island. I wish you all the best in the important roles you must now carry out – especially as you are my ‘eyes and ears’ on Ascension. I look forward to working with you all.”

Ascension Island Administrator, Marc Holland, added:

“The Governor & I look forward to working with our new Island Council. They are the people’s representatives who do fantastic public service. We would like to get the whole community more involved in Council business.”

In total 121 people cast valid votes. This represents approximately 23% of those eligible to vote – compared with 35% in 2013.

The Ascension Island Council met for the first time today, Friday 2 September, at 1pm when members Keturah George, Marie-Anne Dennis, Jacqui Ellick and Samantha Arms-Lawrence took the Oaths of Office. Nicholas John will take the prescribed Oaths when he returns from overseas leave.

Ascension Island Council Members

Newly elected Ascension Island Council (front row) 

2 September 2016

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