Digest>Archives> October 2009

Scottish Lightship May Be Sold


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The future of this beautiful and historic vessel ...
Photo by: Tony Denton

Scotland's last surviving intact lightship, the North Carr, is getting to costly to maintain and the parent group of the organization that cares for the vessel wants to sell it.

The North Carr Lightship, which was built in the 1930s in Glasgow, Scotland, saw service off Fife Ness at the entrance to Firth Bay until 1974. Since then the vessel has been a floating museum.

According to a BBC report, Bob Richmond, the head of the MVS Tay Unit, which has been caring for ship and operating the floating museum said, "We are absolutely appalled when this decision appears to have been made to dispose of it without reference to us." He went on to say, "She’s very unusual because most lightships, when they’ve been retired or scrapped have been converted into restaurants, offices, discos, that sort of thing. But this lightship miraculously survives intact, exactly as she was when she was decommissioned in 1975.”

Lightships were stationed where it was too expensive or too dangerous to built a lighthouse. Regardless of conditions, they were not allowed to leave their post. Because of this, most sailors considered this the most dangerous of assignments.

Such was the case in a storm on December 8, 1959 when the North Carr Lightship broke anchor and began to drift and roll aimlessly on the high seas. The Mona Life Boat was launched from the Broughty Life Boat Station to rescue the lightship crew. However, the life boat capsized and the crew of eight life savers onboard all lost their lives. Miraculously, the lightship and her crew survived.

This story appeared in the October 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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