Royal Navy frigate visits remotest inhabited island on the planet

HMS Richmond (F239) is a Type 23 frigate commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1995. She deployed to APT(S) in August 2013. Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory located in the South Atlantic and has a population of less than 300 hardy souls.

Tristan shout for HMS Richmond as she visits remote island

The remotest inhabited island on the planet became the latest port of call for HMS Richmond on her South Atlantic patrol.

The Portsmouth-based frigate spent two days off Tristan da Cunha, which is at least 1,500 miles from the nearest human habitation.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Gaz Weatherston, HMS Richmond

THERE’S something almost primeval about this image of a volcano rising above a thin layer of cloud.

This is Tristan da Cunha – one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world – as seen from HMS Richmond as the frigate approached the isolated South Atlantic outpost of Empire to begin a two-day stay.

As with all Royal Navy vessels who call at Tristan, which lies 1,750 miles from South Africa and more than 2,000 miles from South America (the nearest inhabited locality is another British Overseas Territory, St Helena, a mere 1,510 miles away), the frigate had to anchor offshore – the harbour at the island’s capital Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is too small to accommodate a Type 23.

After the smattering of people at Richmond’s last port of call, snow-capped South Georgia (about a dozen souls), Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is a positive metropolis with a population of 275, who lead a mostly-self-supporting life farming.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Gaz Weatherston, HMS Richmond

Their island is dominated by the 2,100-metre (6,890ft) Queen Mary Peak shield volcano – whose base extends 3,100 metres (over 10,000ft) down to the Atlantic seabed.

On the first day of a Richmond’s visit, her CO Cdr Rob Pedre was welcomed aboard the island’s administrator and magistrate, Alex Mitham, and its police officer, Inspector Conrad Glass, to highlight some of the important roles that the Royal Navy undertakes in the South Atlantic.

The islanders reciprocated the hospitality on the second day with a reception at the administrator’s residence for a number of the Ship’s Company whilst the Commanding Officer was hosted by Mr Mitham and was able to enjoy a guided tour of the island – which is about seven miles in diameter.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Gaz Weatherston, HMS Richmond

Unfortunately, due to poor weather, a planned golf and football match had to be cancelled, although the Portsmouth-based frigate’s 815 NAS Lynx did make the short hop ashore.

“It has been a great privilege taking HMS Richmond to the remotest British Overseas Territory in the world,” said Cdr Pedre.

“We have reassured the local British citizens that live in Tristan da Cunha and my ship’s company have enjoyed witnessing an island that few people ever get to see.”

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