Iconic seaman Captain Roy Arthur Anslyn MBE has died.
Also known as Arthur Anslyn or Captain Anslyn, and informally as “Brother” Anslyn, was born 23 December 1944 on the island of Nevis in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, West Indies. He is a recognized expert in marine knowledge who currently (from 1999 to the present) is serving as Marine Consultant to the Premier’s Ministry, Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority, Nevis Island Administration (NIA), and Marine Advisor to the Premier’s Ministry, NIA. Over the years, Anslyn has received numerous awards, both for his service to the community and for his bravery in saving lives and property in extreme situations.
Anslyn most recent award was from the Nevisian Association of Washington DC last week Saturday September 30th 2017 where he was awarded for his life’s accomplishment as pioneer of Nevis development.
He was also honoured with the insignia of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1985. He has been very active over the years in search and rescue, marine ambulance service, and other marine emergency services on Nevis. Using scuba, he took part in the underwater survey for the official inquiry after the 1970 Christena disaster, a ferry boat shipwreck which involved a great loss of life. Anslyn was captain of the Carib Queen ferryboat for 19 years, and was subsequently the Director of Fisheries at the NIA for many years.
Brother Anslyn lives in Charlestown, the capital of Nevis. His family name was originally Anslijn, of Dutch extraction: he has family ties to Saba, a Dutch island which lies north of Sint Eustatius.
In 1995, a reporter for the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer commented, “…he’s one of those rare individuals who not only performs a public service…but also touch[es] the lives of so many of us” and, “We are fortunate to have someone like Brother among us”.
Anslyn is an expert on marine matters. He is a highly experienced fisher and scuba diver. In 2000, Anslyn became Director of Fisheries at the NIA, a position which he held for many years. Anslyn also helped create and organize a Fishermen’s Cooperative on Nevis.
For 19 years, from 1980 to 1999, Anslyn was Master of the Carib Queen, one of several St. Kitts and Nevis ferry boats. During this time period, Anslyn was given an award by the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce for his actions in saving the Carib Queen from being wrecked during the passage of Hurricane Klaus in 1984. The hurricane struck without prior warning while the Carib Queen was at dock in St. Kitts, getting an engine overhauled. As the storm intensified, Anslyn took the boat offshore, anchored it, and went and got one other crew member. They then both swam out to the boat, climbed aboard and rode the hurricane out at sea, with only one engine intact.
In 1989, Anslyn once again saved the Carib Queen from destruction during the passage of Hurricane Hugo, by taking the ship to a slightly more sheltered area in Sint Maarten. Although he had successfully saved the Carib Queen, he subsequently found out that his own boat back on Nevis had been destroyed by the hurricane, which caused great damage to Nevis.
Anslyn has piloted and worked on numerous sail boats and motor craft, both freight and passenger vessels, and has studied marine topics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and other marine science centers.
On 7 June 1983, as part of Caribbean Area Economic Policy Congresses, Anslyn took part in a three-day seminar on “Ocean Use and Resource Development and Management in the Eastern Caribbean”, which resulted in published proceedings, Dalhousie Ocean Studies Programme, Dalhousie University.
On 2 March 1985, Anslyn received an award from the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
In the New Year Honours List published on Monday 30 December 1985, Anslyn was awarded an MBE, “For services to the community.”
In a “Four Seasons Resort Nevis” activities guide, Anslyn was mentioned and described as: “Nevis’ most experienced fisherman, Captain Arthur “Brother” Anslyn, who has over forty years experience, and is the mainstay of the local Fisheries Department.”
In 1995, an account was published of one of Anslyn’s rescues at sea, which took place in January 1991. A distress call came in from a woman: “Man overboard 20 miles SW of Nevis”. In retrospect it became clear that, “the names of the two people were Edwin Wolfe and Ruth Sarris, both Americans on the way from Antigua to Nevis, when the dinghy being towed broke away. In an effort to retrieve it Mr. Wolfe fell overboard and, fortunately, Miss Sarris threw him a lifeline”. The weather was already bad and rapidly worsening, with large swells and strong wind. Anslyn went out in the Carib Queen to attempt a rescue. The weather was so bad by that point that another boat responding to the distress call was forced to give up and turn back. Anslyn managed to make radio contact, and the woman told him: “Hurry, hurry, please hurry, I am losing him.” Anslyn managed to locate the vessel and had no choice but to jump overboard and swim out to the man, who was very weak at that point and physically unable to climb. Anslyn unlocked and unfolded the boarding ladder of the yacht, and managed to lift and hoist the man onto the deck. Three hours after the first distress call, both people were taken to the hospital on Nevis, and made a good recovery.
In 2001, when a French cruise ship ran aground on the coral reefs at the southeastern end of Nevis, the Montserrat Reporter quoted Captain Anslyn as telling a reporter from the Caribbean News Agency (CANA): “From the preliminaries, some of the coral was damaged and some of the anti-fouling paint was on the rocks, so we wanted to see if it was enough to cause any concern or to actually put in a claim or if there will be any long-term negative effects on the environment.”
In 2004, Captain Anslyn (as Director of Fisheries) traveled to Norway with Nevis Premier Vance Amory; they met with Norway’s Minister of Fisheries about plans to create a fish farm and fish processing plant on Nevis.
During the 2005 Disaster Awareness Week on Nevis, organized by the Nevis Disaster Management Office, Premier’s Ministry, Captain Anslyn was given an individual award for search and rescue, as someone who has “greatly assisted in Disaster Management over the years”.
In 2007-2008 Anslyn was listed as joint committee chairperson for Conservation and Biodiversity in the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society newsletter. In 2011-2012, Anslyn was listed on the NHCS website as Government Representative on the Executive Board.
In 2009, a newspaper article commented, “Brother has worked on the sea, above the sea, and very much for the sea”, and “He has rescued people and boats without thinking of the risk to himself. He has built up knowledge of that massive underwater theatre by making it his life”.
In 2012, on the government website, Captain Anslyn was described as “one of Nevis’ most experienced fishers” and “former Nevis Fisheries Director”; he expressed his support for the construction of Charlestown Community Fisheries Complex at Gallows Bay on Nevis. He commented, “That area is subject to heavy erosion. From what I have seen in my lifetime, two thirds of the area has gone to the ocean already” and also explained, “The construction of that facility will stop the erosion in that particular area. You will observe that the other areas further south of the project in Gallows Bay will be eroded. You won’t be surprised to find that sooner than later the sea will be in the Bogs… When that happens it will be unfortunate, and this is something we can’t stop. This is the work of Mother Nature and we just have to go along with it.”
Also in 2012, in commentary on the proposed Japanese-sponsored Fisheries Complex, on KYSS 102.5 FM, a St. Kitts radio station, Captain Anslyn was quoted as saying, “Gallows Bay is the best setting” and “…we must look down the road to what the facility can do for the island, and all in all we will have to look positively to the future”. In the broadcast Anslyn was described as a “veteran fisher” and “a leader in the fishing industry for decades”.
Anslyn was interviewed as part of a book on the Caribbean politician Ivor Stevens, who was born on St. Kitts. The book was published in 2013.
Anslyn was one of the organizers of the “Great Lionfish Hunt” on Sunday 14 April 2013 on Nevis. This was an attempt to educate the public about this invasive species, and to encourage fishermen, consumers and hotels to exploit it as a food source. He commented, “The objective of the Great Lionfish Hunt is to reduce the amount of Lionfish on the island. We know we cannot eradicate them, so what we are trying to do is keep the numbers down”. He also explained that “The toxic spines have nothing to do with the flesh; the flesh is perfectly safe to eat”.
Published articles by Anslyn include:
“Harvesting/eating parrotfish puts our coral at risk”, by Capt. Arthur “Brother” Anslyn, NHCS Board Director, Friday 8 March 2013, St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, Commentary.
In addition to the MBE honor and the award from the St Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Outstanding Bravery during Hurricane Klaus, Anslyn has received the following awards:
1985: St. Christopher and Nevis Independence Honours Award, for “Public Service”
1986: Anguilla-Nevis-St. Kitts Association Toronto, for “Outstanding Contribution to Country and Others”
1987: St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross, “Contribution to the Society”
1994: Culturama Committee, for “Contribution and Service towards Culturama and its Programme”
1994: Nevis Island Administration, for “Contribution towards Tourism Development”
1994: Nevis Island Administration, “In appreciation of the development in trade between St. Kitts and Nevis”
1996: Nevis Island Administration, for “Outstanding contribution to the development of the Charlestown Port”
1997: Foundation for National Development FND, “In appreciation of the voluntary services given as a Trustee of FND”
1998: Alexandra Hospital, for “Unstinting dedication to the Institution over the years”
1999: Nevis Fisherman’s Marketing and Supply Cooperative Society, for “Outstanding contribution to the Society”