Christmas Eve departure back to Cape Town

MV Baltic Trader's cargo voyage

Update from Peter Millington

Thanks to two days of good weather and a concerted effort by the Tristan workforce, off-loading of the Baltic Trader and back-loading of cargo (mainly empty gas bottles) was completed during the evening of Christmas Eve. The ship set off back to Cape Town at 9:40pm. Afterwards, Administrator Sean Burns invited the workforce for a well-deserved drink to celebrate completion of the off-loading which began the day after the ship arrived on 6th December, but was hampered by poor weather. A grand total of 360 tonnes of cargo was off-loaded on 24th December and must be a record, or close to it.

Now the Tristan community can properly focus on Christmas, with the Midnight Mass services and Christmas Day 'big eats'.

Work resumes on Boxing Day for many as the cruise ship MS Bremen is making a welcome return to Tristan.

Report from Cynthia Green and Sean Burns

Sean Burns' photo sshows MS Baltic Trader, right, seen with MFV Edinburgh
at the Tristan anchorage on 6th December 2019.

Peter Millington's photo taken on 15th November
shows the MV Baltic Trader in the corner of a
Cape Town dock as the ship was loaded
with supplies for work on Calshot Harbour.

MV Baltic Trader has been chartered by the Tristan Government to transport 1000 tonnes of materials to carry out further work on Tristan's Calshot Harbour during the 2019-2020 summer season. The former Ovenstone ship, used for several years to carry out scheduled Cape Town - Tristan cargo and passenger voyages, is now owned by another company. The ship's last trip to Tristan was in November 2017.

MV Baltic Trader left Cape Town on Tuesday 19th November 2019 and has been progressing at a gentle pace towards Tristan, hampered by bad weather and strong head winds, eventually arriving at Tristan on Friday 6th December at 04.00. We are checking if this is the slowest passage from Cape Town to Tristan in modern times. A passage of 16.5 days would work out at an average speed of 3.8 knots.

There were no passengers on this MV Baltic Trader voyage. There was so much swell for offloading on Friday but on Saturday 7th vehicles were taken off the ship. The newly refurbished Wave Dancer is also on board, but the weather forecast is not good for offloading from Saturday afternoon.

Bernard Pronost's photo shows the MV Baltic Trader
being offloaded at Tristan in November 2017.