Travelling to the world’s remotest inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha on SPO’s vessel, Pacific Askari  

"As seafarers, our jobs take us to many corners of the world but I’d never have thought that I would get the chance to visit Tristan - a place that I’ve have been fascinated with since my secondary school geography days. Not many people have heard of Tristan, let alone get a chance to step foot onto this island. This is probably one of the most unusual charters that I have been involved in."

- Second Officer, Craig Crawford

Second Officer, Craig Crawford, shares his unforgettable travel experience when work in SPO brought him to the world’s remotest inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha. Locally known as Tristan, this volcanic island lies in the south Atlantic around half way between South America and South Africa and is part of the British Overseas Territories. The island is governed by St Helena and its 266-people population is dependent on the United Kingdom. Tristan belongs to the Tristan da Cunha Group, which comprises three other smaller uninhabited islands, namely Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough.  

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Happy crew of Pacific Askari striking poses at the world's remotest island, Tristan da Cunha as a memento to remember this unusual voyage.

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The supply barge with passengers and cargo. 

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Sights of the picturesque Tristan de Cunha.

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The Calshot Harbour, the main landing harbour in Tristan de Cunha.

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View of Pacific Askari from the shores of Tristan de Cunha.

In October 2016, SPO’s vessel, the Pacific Askari was chartered to bring 12 contractors from Cape Town, South Africa to Tristan as part of a team spent eight months on the island to build a new medical centre in replacement of the worn-out building that was used as their medical facility then. The new medical building was flat-packed and shipped down from Sweden via the UK and would be constructed by the same team who built the new Halley research station for the British Antarctic Survey on the Brunt ice shelf in the Antarctic. The voyage from Cape Town to Tristan took about eight days, with the vessel steaming 1, 522 nautical miles towards the south Atlantic archipelago.  

The mainstay of the island is the fishing industry. All the 266 islanders, comprising 80 families are farmers and fishermen. They fish for local rock lobsters and the catch is processed on the island and shipped to Cape Town for the European and Japanese markets. Most locals have potato patches and rear cattle. The local authorities control the number of cattle that anyone can rear to in order to avoid overgrazing of the limited green spaces. 

“As we approached the anchorage, we enjoyed the spectacular views of the Queen Mary’s peak. The island summit stands at an elevation of 6,765 feet above sea level. With the vessel on Dynamic Positioning (DP) mode, we gave the supply barge a lee (protective shelter) while we off loaded our passengers and their luggage along with two cargo pallets of the much needed tea, coffee and milk. Upon completion of our unloading operations, we managed to go ashore with a launch boat to explore the settlement for about an hour,” he said.   

To find out more about Tristan, please visit www.tristandc.com