Radio Mi Amigo, from the historic Lightvessel LV18 on Harwich Quay, is returning to the air on Christmas Eve and will continue on a permanent basis through the New Year. The station will be bringing the sounds and spirit of the original radio pirates back to their roots of Harwich.

Returning to the floating newly-installed studios are Garry Lee, Neon Nancy (pictured), Chris Cooper and the Reverend Rabbit as well as many new DJs who are broadcasting in support of the Pharos Trust charity, which owns the LV18.

Tony O’Neil, Chairman of the Pharos Trust, said he was excited to bring a nostalgic ‘retro’ sound to Harwich once again and appreciated all who were giving their time and expertise towards the project.

Listen via our dedicated website

2021 Opening Times

From 22nd June – 5th September 2021: Open daily (Closed Mondays) from 11am – 4pm.
For further information call 07446 171 320. School parties and group visits by prior arrangement.
Admission: Adults – £4; Children under 16 – £2; Family (2 Adults and up to 4 children) – £10
New exhibition for 2021 – ‘It’s All About Waves’ – The role of Lightvessels in the development of wireless communication.

Illuminate Festival 2019

The Pharos Trust was asked earlier this year if we could light the lantern for the 2019 Illuminate Festival. In the past this has been a low key event but for 2019 we were promised a bigger affair.

Little did we know that, over the two days of this year’s festival, several thousand people would be on Harwich Quay, marking the start of a year of events. 2020 will be the 400th anniversary of The Mayflower’s voyage to the USA and Harwich has a large part of the story to tell.

The Pharos Trust would like to thank the LV18’s volunteers who put in a total of 143 hours getting the ship in order and ready for the lighting of the lantern and the continuous liaison with the other festival stakeholders in order to ensure an incident-free event.

2019 & planning for the future

Lightvessel LV18 is a registered historic ship and is believed to be the only publicly accessible historic ship between the Thames and the Humber.

She was built in 1958 and decommissioned by Trinity House in 1994, as the last manned lightvessel in UK waters. LV18 is the only preserved lightvessel in its original condition in the UK.

The lightvessel is owned by a charity, the Pharos Trust, who bought it in 2002. The vessel has been in the current berth on Harwich Quay since 2011, funded by Haven Gateway Partnership as part of the Quayside Regeneration Project. LV18 is open to the public all year round, albeit weather dependant in the winter.
The Trust is keen to continue working alongside Harwich Tourism Group, Harwich Haven Authority, Harwich Town Council, Tendring District Council & Essex County Council in order to promote the history of Harwich and to attract additional visitors to our maritime town.

In particular we feel it is appropriate to work closely with HHA and other stakeholders on interpretation and promotion, especially given HHA’s enhanced community involvement over the past few years and their outline plans for 2019/2020. This will hopefully include Mayflower 400.
During 2018 we were awarded funds by Harwich Town Council and TDC’s Big Society Fund. These were used for essential maintenance and emergency engineering.

For 2019 we have plans to reallocate one exhibition compartment on the lightvessel. This will give us the space to create a new gallery covering the role lightvessels played in the waters around the UK and include the role of merchant shipping, particularly in and around the Harwich Estuary.

We are also planning to enhance the existing pirate radio exhibition.

In both areas, additional audio visual displays will be introduced as we have access to archive media, including an interview with the last master of the LV18.

As a part of these plans an additional weatherproof audio visual facility will be installed on the aft deck, under the Helideck. This will be available to visitors who may be unable to access the lower decks, as well as being a suitable starting point for educational groups.

We will be seeking funds to support these plans and hope to start work by the end of March 2019. It is believed that we could have the new or refurbished exhibitions in full use by June.
Alongside those works we also plan to install new lighting, signage and banners and update our hangouts.
We are already undertaking a project to extend audio and video cabling from our studio to the exhibition spaces as well as external locations, a deep clean and repaint (where necessary) will occur alongside these works.
Our financial plan for this is as follows:
Exhibition interpretation and presentation update £5k
including: 4 x internal video/still displays with mounting kits
1 x external/weatherproof audio-visual display
Exhibition display boarding
Lighting and electrical supply for exhibition spaces
Public harbour webcam
Installation costs
External advertising signage & banners
External Lighting

Other projects, still being developed, include a twenty four month repair and renovation plan for the ship, including re-installation of central heating, as well as a rebuild of our radio studio and creation of a production suite.

It is also intended that Radio Mi Amigo will broadcast on FM and online for ten days in the summer of 2019. We’ll again invite former pirate radio DJs to Harwich to recreate the pirate radio atmosphere from our floating studio. This is funded by advertising and sponsorship.
Tony O’Neil
on behalf of the trustees of the Pharos Trust
LightVessel 18
The Quay
CO12 3HH

Essex Book Festival visit

The Essex Book Festival is visiting the ship on 3rd March.

“Calling all on board the LV18 in Harwich Quay: hear a live pirate radio revival with BBC Essex, listen to nautical tales with Shane the Storyteller, and enjoy shanty songs on deck with the Silver Darlings. Below deck, the intimate and magical Mueller and Malten’s Live Poetry Jukebox will also be waiting for you. Suitable for all ages.”

Full details from their website:

Statement from the trustees

“LV18 is due to be moving to Ipswich Waterfront temporarily to enable vital dredging and engineering work. The timing of the move is subject to weather and other critical marine conditions. We will update as soon as we have confirmation of a towage plan. Thank you for all your messages of support and concern.”

Easter Radio Shows

We have two days of special radio shows this weekend on Radio Mi Amigo from the LV18’s studio.



2.00PM Brian Anderson (Memories of 1974)
3.00PM The Mi Amigo Oldies Show
5.00PM Garry Lee’s Stonehenge Disco
Featuring 3 hours of album tracks – Past, present & future!
9.00PM Brendan Day’s 1968 Show
Midnight Another chance to hear some recent Radio Mi Amigo programmes from our archives.


MIDDAY Garry Lee’s Stonehenge Disco
2.00PM Barry Jamm’s Glam Rock Special
3.00PM Happy Hour with Ian Riches

4.00PM Roland Visser’s Power Hour
5.00PM Jan Berg
6.00PM Rene Van Den Abeelen – Musiek Therapie

7.00PM Tim Rice
8.00PM The New Releases Show
Hour 1 – The latest rock & metal releases
Hour 2 – The lastest Indie / Alternative / Cross-over releases
Hour 3 – The latest Psych / Space rock & Underground.
11.00PM The Reverend Rabbit Show