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RMS St Helena

RMS St Helena

The RMS St Helena was a unique cargo-passenger ship that sailed to a unique island, one of the most remote and inhabited in the world.  During her time she also sailed between Cape Town, St Helena and Ascension Island.  Some voyages saw her visiting Walvis Bay, the UK and Spanish island Tenerife.  She was also distinctive in the fact that she was one of the last working Royal Mail ships in the world.  The RMS had a strong connection to the island an offered a voyage like no other, introducing passengers to the hospitality and community spirit they should expect on island.

The RMS served the island since 1990 and completed around 268 voyages by the time she was decommissioned. In addition to carrying passengers in well-fed comfort,  she offered a lifeline to St Helena carrying island supplies. 

Governor Lisa Phillips declared Friday, 9 February 2018 a public holiday on St Helena to allow the island to bid farewell to the RMS St Helena, which set sail on its final voyage to Cape Town on Saturday, 10 February having served the island for 27 years.


The RMS St. Helena has served the Island of St. Helena for 26 years, but she has retired from service. We look back and find out just what she has meant to the people of the tiny remote island of St. Helena, and how a ship has touched so many hearts.

LIFELINE. The R.M.S St. Helena

Public celebrations commenced on Friday, with an open day on board the RMS for members of the public.  Tickets were a much sought-after commodity as many wanted to bid farewell to St Helena’s beloved vessel.  Tours around the RMS were conducted by crew members and consisted of visits to the cabins, decks, and lounges as well as the bridge, were some guests had the opportunity to peer over the ship’s wheel towards St Helena.  Saturday, 10 February was an emotional day for many.  At 9 am the RMS St Helena crew accompanied by uniformed contingents paraded through Jamestown and across the seafront to the wharf.  The sound of the Scouts band brought Jamestown to life once again with crowds of onlookers lining the streets as she sailed on wards into the sunset.

In April 2018 she was purchased by MNG Maritime and renamed MNG Tahiti to act as a vessel based armoury (VBA) licensed by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) in the Gulf of the Oman.


In 1986, Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) agreed to a new purpose built ship to serve St Helena. The design contract was awarded to Three Quays Marine Services with HMG signing a contract to build the ship with Hall Russell. Hall Russell went into administration and the contract was taken over by A & P Appledore.

The RMS was launched by HRH Prince Andrew in Aberdeen on 31 October 1989 and came into service in November 1990 when she departed from Cardiff on her maiden voyage.

While two other ships still carry the legacy ‘Royal Mail’ designation, the RMS is the only remaining Royal Mail Ship contracted by Royal Mail to carry mail across the seas.