“Sea Breezes” up The Creek?
A letter to the Editor suddenly opens up the possibility of introducing a fascinating, unique opportunity to introduce a 26-year-old British-built merchant ship into the umbrellas of maritime Greenwich.
RMS St Helena is looking for a UK base and, surely, our maritime borough is indeed a contender. Roy Martin’s letter explains the reason why.
A suitable location at Greenwich Ship Tier is indeed a possibility when and if the Cruise Ship Terminal is opened at Enderby Wharf.
A living museum which could tour the UK and be a fascinating addition to the Cutty Sark, even providing accommodation for young and old, serviced by a ship-to-shore tripper boat in the off season. During the summer, she could tour the British Isles like any other cruise ship. Her containerised exhibition could be placed alongside and could tell the world of her working life in the southern oceans. The cost of such an enterprise is extensive, but what a superb memorial for our Merchant Navy and Royal Navy too!
She could be moored just off the newly-opened superb promenade which leads into Central London via the new bridge which will take promenaders into historic Deptford Creek and Dockyard with its massive Convoys wharf redevelopment on stream. Opportunities are of Olympic proportions – only for the brave.
Flying the flag – by sea
A golden opportunity for Maritime Greenwich to add a remarkable vessel to the Royal Borough’s waterfront could occur if the Royal Mail ship ‘St. Helena’ hasn’t found a new base from her South Atlantic duties of some 26 years. As an historic working member of the UK’s merchant navy’s fast-disappearing fleet, she has recently been the victim of the inevitable takeover by aircraft to link the islands of Ascension, St. Helena and the far distant Tristan da Cunha to the continents of South Africa and South America. The newly-built airport on St. Helena has run into runway problems, however, and the regular essential cargo and passenger link might have to be sourced to others. If the sterling services of RMS St. Helena since 1990 are not now required, perhaps this pride of the merchant fleet could remain in the UK at a suitable port or ports as a cruise and exhibition ship which tours our European waters, and winters in Greenwich as a living museum and travel experience.
The proposed cruise ship pier at Enderby Wharf, adjacent to the home of global sub sea telegraph cables which also linked the four corners of the world, could also prove to be a technical innovation. Her cargo of containers could provide an almost instant visitor attraction at global ports – being off-loaded by her own pair of cranes, the contents of each container designed to tell the virtual reality of 164 years of cable laying and ships manufacture, and feature the skill of the men ashore and afloat. The facilities of the new pier and its backup could be utilised not only in the off winter cruise season, but also at further suitable wharf side piers, e.g. at Greenwich Ship Tier, Convoys at Deptford, Trinity Buoy Wharf, the Boat Show venue at Excel and at the expanding marine facilities alongside Woolwich Arsenal. Her capacity of 156 passengers and some 20 containers containing exhibits could be easily offloaded onto shore sides or quaysides at home or abroad, at small ports or city centres.