Classic heritage lightship to visit Ipswich in September

Former Lightship the LV 18 at Harwich Picture: GRAHAM EWENS

Former Lightship the LV 18 at Harwich Picture: GRAHAM EWENS - Credit: Graham Ewens

Historic light ship, the LV 18 which appeared in pirate radio movie The Boat That Rocked, is coming to Ipswich.

The last working lightship, the LV 18, is due to Ipswich later this summer, and will be open to visitors.

It will be moored at the quayside for a number of weeks and become a tourist attraction in the Waterfront

This, the last Trinity House Lightvessel to be manned, prior to automation in 1994, is now moored in Harwich, where Trinity House is still based.

The LV 18 also appeared in the Richard Curtis movie about the pirate radio days on the North Sea, `The Boat That Rocked’.

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It is hoped to have a temporary radio licence, for broadcasting, while in Ipswich.

The ship is now run by a charitable trust, and chairman Colin Crawford said: “We are very much looking forward to Ipswich and beeing here a few weeks. It is a great place to be.

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”The port authority have offered us a berth and it is very good of them to do it.”

The LV18 was launched 60 years ago, in 1958, and served around the coastal waters protecting mariners on the seas.

Tony O’Neil, LV 18 founder trustee and curator said, “We are honoured to be allowed by Ipswich Port Authority to bring the LV18 into Ipswich as a visiting heritage vessel.

“It will offer a much bigger area of people to come and visit this unique vessel, which is in her original unaltered condition. Visitors will be able to tour the entire ship, exploring the crews quarters, galley, mess room, bridge etc witnessing how men lived at sea for a month at a time in some of the worst weather conditions imaginable. Some special evening tours will be available for parties to visit the impressive engine room which houses six working Gardner Diesel engines and view the original Reavell rotary air compressors, built in Ipswich.”

He added, “LV18 was involved in the filming of Richard Curtis film, ‘The Boat that Rocked’ in 2008 when she was towed down to Portland in Dorset for 5 weeks. LV18 has also been the base for several licenced radio broadcasts bringing back the sounds of Offshore pirate radio stations celebrating Radio Caroline, Radio London and others that appeared off the coast in the 1960’s bringing about a revolution in radio broadcasting.”

LV18 also houses the definitive collection of original artifacts from the offshore pirate radio era and a special pirate radio exhibition is to be set up when vessel comes alongside the Quayside.

Tony added: “ We also hope to gain a short term radio licence from Ofcom to broadcast to the local area bringing back some of the original DJ’s from the watery wireless era . Last August the vessel hosted a special anniversary with ‘Pirate BBC Essex’ from Harwich with Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker, who is the patron of the Pharos Trust the charity which owns and operates LV18, Keith Skues and many other ex pirates.

Tony added: “There has been enormous interest already in our plans and Ipswich Maritime Trust and several other organisations have offered to assist with the project.”

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