Historic lightship due to arrive in Ipswich

Former Lightship the LV 18, at Harwich

Former Lightship the LV 18, at Harwich - Credit: Graham Ewens

The historic lightship the LV18 is coming to Ipswich at last, after a couple of weeks of delays.

It had been planned to bring the lightship up the River Orwell for a residency at Ipswich Waterfront a couple of weeks ago.

Associated British Ports (ABP), the Ipswich Port owners, had offered a berth for the visit.

But plans for the journey had to be put on hold - initially by a problem with insurance cover, and then when the weather worsened.

But spokesman Tony O’Neil said: “We’ve got the green light to go tomorrow, at high tide, setting off at 9am and we should be at Ipswich lock gates by 12 noon.

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“I am very pleased, at last we are on the move.

“We are looking forward to coming to Ipswich.”

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Getting away from the berth in Harwich would require a pilot, he said, provided by Harwich Haven Authority, and two tugs were set to pull the LV18 up the Orwell.

It will be towed backwards in through the Ipswich lock gates.

The lightship, the last one to be in service, is usually connected by collars to piles in the basin at Harwich and is now tied by ropes, ready for an easy release, he explained.

The LV18 is an ambassador for the Harwich Haven Authority’s Turn the Tide on plastic campaign, which would continue in Ipswich.

The lightship, which was filmed for the Boat That Rocked movie about the pirate radio boats broadcasting from the North Sea, also broadcasts music, online, as Radio Mi Amigo.

Plans to have a temporary radio licence during the Ipswich residency have been dropped but the LV18 is linking up with Ipswich Community Radio while in Suffolk.

He added: “They are going to come on board and some of their DJs will be playing music, and we will be able to simulcast with them on their FM frequency.

“We are also planning some live bands from the helicopter deck, which will be broadcast and also live events.”

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