Marine business to manage logistics hub for international electric car rally

A Hessle firm which contributed to the refurbishment of the original RMS St Helena ship to prepare it to serve as a logistics hub for the Extreme E racing series, has been hired to continue managing the vessel.

The owners of the new electric rally car racing series have hailed WYM Group’s multi-million pound refurbishment of the ship to transport the series around the world.

The company, which has expertise in commercial shipping and superyacht management, was selected by Extreme E to transform the former Island of St Helena Royal Mail ship into its new ‘floating logistics hub’.

It has meant nearly two years’ work for the team at WYM Group, headed by technical project manager Austen Brunton, as they made the ship ready to carry 170 passengers – and the super cars of teams led by Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Jensen Button.

The ship is on its way to Saudi Arabia where the first ever race weekend of the newly established series will start on April 3 and 4, before heading to more remote locations in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil, and Argentina.

WYM Group team will continue to manage the vessel and is responsible for ensuring plain sailing for all involved in Extreme E as the season unfolds.

Allan Wilson, managing director, said: “This has been a huge project for our team but one we are all immensely proud of, given the status of the history of the St Helena, the size of the job we were entrusted to lead on and of course the profile of the Extreme E series and the personalities involved.

Allan Wilson

“It has been a challenging project and refit for all of our team but finally waving her off to mark the start of the series was quite special.

“The ship is a fantastic example of our work. As she is 30 years old, she needed quite a lot of work to get her ready for her now role, with many adaptations required to be suitable for both passenger and cargo use.

“Now our job is to ensure we manage all the logistics to safely carry the Extreme E series, its people and the many millions of pounds worth of cars safely around the world.”

The refurbishment and refit included the entire interior of the ship, renewing of steelworks, hydro blasting and a full repaint of the hull and superstructure.

All mechanical systems were overhauled with the engines stripped and all components renewed or replaced. Propellers were refurbished to reduce friction and improve efficiency, and the ship now also runs on low sulphur marine diesel.

The underwater hull was painted in the most up-to-date self-polishing anti-fouling paint, meaning it is kept clean and makes the ship more streamlined, helping further reduce CO2 emissions.

Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “She really is unrecognisable from the vessel we purchased back in 2018. She is unmistakably part of Extreme E with the exterior branding, and the internal refit looking incredible.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the crew who have worked so hard on the St Helena to prepare her for her new journey.”

In her previous life the Island of St Helena Royal Mail ship provided the only transportation for both people and cargo to and from the island before its airport was built in 2016.

The Extreme E championship chose to buy the ship in 2018, as moving its freight via the sea will reduce emission in comparison to air freight.

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