No more whale adventures for St Helena’s new diplomat

Tristan da Cunha’s administrator, Sean Burns, is to take up a senior post on St Helena – but  the job is unlikely to offer the same excitements as life on the world’s remotest inhabited island.

Besides dealing with the 2011 wreck of the MS Oliva and the resulting penguin rescue operation, Sean has handled the aftermath of storms, and even help to liberate a tangled whale.

The stricken humpback was spotted 200 yards off Tristan’s Calshot Harbour with a buoy and net caught around its tail.

Sean soon found himself joining three islanders, including police officer Conrad Glass aboard a rigid inflatable boat. His role was to keep radio contact – and take photographs – as the others tried to free the eight-metre-long whale.

Each time the boat approached the stressed creature it would dive – with the buoy increasing the tension on the fishing line.

Eventually they managed to coast alongside the whale and quickly cut the buoy free.

His new job will see him taking over from Clive McGill as head of the governor’s office. He will also serve as acting governor when Mark Capes is away from St Helena.

He brings experience of immigration, project management and human resources in Foreign and Commonwealth Office postings in Tanzanie, Antigua, Bangladesh, Senegal, Kenya and South Korea.

He said he and his wife Marina were looking forward to making their first visit to St Helena at an exciting time.

Not as exciting as the past three years on Tristan da Cunha, perhaps…

About Simon Pipe

I teach journalism and media law part-time at university and spend the rest of the time, fell-running, dancing, creating. "Creating" can be taken many ways. I was a senior broadcast journalist at the BBC and a reporter, sub-editor and feature writer on newspapers before that. For five years I ran St Helena Online, a news website about the remote British island in the South Atlantic, at
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