The RMS St Helena, one of only two ocean-going vessels in the world still to carry the title of Royal Mail Ship, will depart on her final voyage from St Helena Island on Saturday, 10 February 2018.

The RMS, as she is affectionately known, has served the Island since 1990 and will have completed 268 voyages by the time she is decommissioned. In addition to carrying passengers in well-fed comfort, the ‘working ship’ has been a lifeline to St Helena carrying all the Island’s goods and supplies.

Passengers who have travelled on the RMS on her regular voyages to St Helena, Ascension Island and Cape Town and during her voyages to the UK and Tristan da Cunha will have their own special memories of the ship. She has happily carried new born babies, sadly brought home people to be laid to rest, brought home returning Saints after spending years abroad and brought first time visitors to the Island.


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.

Capacity and Facilities

British registered and 6,767 gross tonnes, the RMS originally had capacity to carry 126 passengers which was increased to 156 in 2012.  The ship can carry up to 92 standard twenty foot containers, including 17 reefers.

The RMS has modern facilities, stabilisers, air conditioning, fax, telephone and email. She carries a doctor and has well equipped medical facilities.

Did you know?

During the RMS’ 27 years of service, her passengers and crew have consumed a whopping:

  • 40,200 kg sirloins of beef
  • 540 individual Steam Boat rounds (whole leg of beef) – equivalent to 135 cows
  • 20,904 whole chickens
  • 1,661,600 kg of other meat products
  • 402,000 one-litre cartons of milk
  • 40,200 litres of cream
  • 49,312 kg of baked beans
  • 1,736,640 hens eggs
  • 2,219,040 individual freshly baked bread rolls
  • 110,952  individual freshly baked loaves of bread
  • 132,280 litres of ice cream

Passengers and crew have drunk some 643,200 cans of beer, which is equivalent to 212,256 litres and gulped a thirst quenching 1,232,800 litres of bottled water.

They’ve also used 1,744,412 individual paper table napkins and 497,409 individual paper draw liners, enough to cover the entire Francis Plain sports field on St Helena.

The ship has also used a staggering 6,421 Nautical Miles of baby quality toilet paper, more than long enough to reach the UK from Cape Town via St Helena and Ascension Island!

RMS Farewell

Preparations for the RMS Farewell celebrations on St Helena are ongoing. Keep an eye on local newspapers and tune in to the radio stations for updates on the programme.

#StHelena #RMSStHelena #Farewell

30 January 2018

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470