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Pitcairn Island closed because of Swine 'Flu

by Sail-World Cruising on 4 May 2009
Pitcairn Island location SW
The residents of the tiny Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Island, descendents of the mutineers of the Bounty, have decided to close the island to all incoming yachts for fear of Swine flu.

If readers are aware of any yachts headed for the island and know how to contact them, please notify them of the closure.

Marcie and David Lynn, travelling on yacht Nine of Cups, may be the last yacht to be able to visit the island until the embargo is lifted, as they were already present when the 'borders' were closed. In fact, they attended the emergency meeting of the local population, which voted to disbar all incoming traffic until the emergency was over.

The islanders said they were acting on the WHO statement that raised the level of the world wide alert to level 5. Nine of Cups has been told that once they leave the island they will not be allowed to return until the island is re-opened for traffic.

The two biggest island nations in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, are still open for business, and Sail-World has not been advised of any other closures.

About Pitcairn Island:
Pitcairn was named after the midshipman who spotted it in 1767 on board HMS Swallow. Some human remains have been discovered on the island, but who these original inhabitants were remains a mystery.

When the island’s most famous settlers, the Bounty mutineers, came to the island they found no one. Fletcher Christian and eight of his fellow mutineers arrived here in 1790 with their Tahitian wives and six Tahitian men on board the Bounty, which was then burnt and scuttled to avoid detection.

Problems arose in the small community and there was much violence. When the community was discovered in 1808 only one mutin­eer had survived with 10 women and many children.

Income is raised from the sale of stamps and handicrafts are sold to the ships that visit. The land is fertile, the islanders farm and fish for their own consumption and the only paid jobs are government-funded.

Less than 50 people live on the island, the ­population having dwindled as many have left for New Zealand. All are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their wives, infused with some other blood from sailors and mis­sionaries who settled on the island in the nineteenth century.

In 2004, more than one-quarter of the labour force was arrested and convicted by a court in New Zealand for various offences, putting the economy in a bind as it left not enough labour to load and unload passing ships.


Advice from Mayor of Pitcairn:

I would just like to inform you that in relation to your article entitled 'Pitcairn Island closed because of Swine 'Flu', border controls have now changed from 'no entry with conditions ' to 'restricted entry with conditions'. What this means for yachties is that they may come ashore subject to clearance from the local doctor and immigration. Border controls are constantly being reviewed.

Best Regards,
Mike Warren
Mayor of Pitcairn from Mike Warren

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