Wednesday, March 30, 2011

HMS ATLANTIC ISLE

SA Agulhas
Rockhopper penguins, oiled
Settlement, the only one, of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas

Typical housing

Administrator Sean Burns and wife Marina

Administrators Flag
Until the grounding of the MS Oliva on Spinner Point, Nightingale Island, Tristan Group most people had probably never heard about these remote islands.  Between 1961-1963 the Islanders were evacuated due to volcanic eruption and the population brought to England.  At first they lived at Pendell Army Base, Merstham, Surrey, England later they moved to RAF Calshot, near Southampton, Hampshire.  It was there that NAUTICAL LOG came into contact with them by a chance meeting in the Post Office one day.  They spoke a patois-dialect of English and frankly between my Irish accented English and their accented English we did not really communicate very well!!  However it resulted in my taking an interest in the Islanders after they were able to return to Tristan da Cunha and restart their unique lives there once again.   Later on voyages from India-Ceylon-South Africa to Argentina we passed north of the Islands and that was the closest NAUTICAL LOG has ever been.  It is an interesting place and since their Website www.tristandc.com/ started up one can read all about what is going on.

The Island Group was first inhabited in 1812, on August 18, 1816 it became part of the British Dependence of Cape Colony, South Africa, on January 12, 1938 this changed to the British Dependency of St. Helena.  On September 01, 2009 they received the current Constitution.  There is an Administrator from the United Kingdom whose Residence is on Tristan and a Governor whose Residence is on St. Helena.  The Islanders agree on a Chief Islander of the 260 British Nationals.

During World War II the islands were used as a top secret  British Royal Navy weather and radio station codenamed HMS Atlantic Isle to monitor the German U-Boats and shipping movements in the South Atlantic.  The only currency in use there at that time was potatos and so the Islanders were paid with naval supplies of wood, paint, and tea (well it IS British)

But where are they ?  In the South Atlantic at position 37° 04' South latitude 12° 19' West longitude some 1550 nautical miles from South Africa and 2000 nautical miles from South America - very remote.

Visit the Tristan website for all the "Latest News" on what is going on but briefly they have rescued about 2500 penguins, which NAUTICAL LOG has a special affection for, of which sadly about 100 have died to date.  They rescued and are housing the crew of the MS Oliva and partly as a result of NAUTICAL LOG publishing their photo the families know they are safe and well.  Two have sent e-mails, Marlon's Mom and Lester's girlfriend Donna, both of whom expressed their thanks to the Islanders for their kindness - which indeed they have been.

The weather there is very changeable and storms spring up making communication difficult and there is no airport or a place to build one.  We had hoped that the SA Agulhas which has a helicopter would be heading to them to bring assistance and remove the crew of the MS Oliva to South Africa, so far there is no news of that happening.   NAUTICAL LOG thinks that is important because it is a very difficult situation for the interaction between the Islanders and the crewmembers and stress levels will only increase the longer it goes on.  One does not need to be a psychiatrist to figure that out.  From public information sources and not from the Island website we are publishing some photos which complete a brief picture about these remote British Terrority Islands.

Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

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