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