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Burns Seamount: Tribute to Former Administrator

30 November 2023

Government, Press Release

The Ascension Island Government is pleased to announce the official naming of a newly discovered seamount as "Burns Seamount." This significant geological discovery was made on 13 November 2022, by the RRS Discovery while navigating the northeast of the Ascension’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) en route to the Island.

The seamount, initially detected by the ship's multibeam sonar, extends 1,321 meters above the seafloor and spans over 10 kilometers in each direction. This unexplored territory presents an exciting opportunity for biodiversity research, with the potential to discover species previously unknown to science.

This naming, which was approved by the International Hydrographic Office today, honours the late Sean Burns. Sean notably served as the Ascension Island Government Administrator from 2020 to 2022, three times as Administrator in Tristan da Cunha and as the Head of Governor’s Office in St Helena. Sean’s contribution, dedication and service to our island communities is fondly remembered and greatly appreciated. The decision to name the seamount in Sean’s memory was made in May this year, in consultation with the Ascension Island community, and has the support of his family.

Welcoming the announcement, His Excellency Governor Nigel Phillips CBE noted: “It is fitting that navigational charts will now provide a permanent record of Sean’s contribution to the governance of the South Atlantic Islands that form this Overseas Territory.”