Two weeks after the fire

The following is a press release that was submitted to the Harwich & Manningtree Standard for the Friday 16th Feb 2024 edition:

A fortnight after the horrific fire that threatened to destroy the LV18 Lightship, plans are now being finalised to restore the ship to its original condition. In the past few days a  highly qualified marine surveyor has been appointed to drive the project whilst meetings have also taken place with a Marine Insurance Assessor and our legal team. These meetings were necessary but had to wait for the right people to be available. Subject to a written sign-off from these professionals, we should soon be in a position to move forward, albeit carefully, to clean and restore the vessel.

Tony O’Neil, of the Pharos Trust, said “We needed to get the right team of professionals together and haven’t been able to say very much until the site meetings had been held and the necessary legal & HSE steps accomplished. Our Marine Surveyor will overview the process and ensure all regulations are followed. We are, of course, extremely grateful to Essex Police and Harwich Haven Authority for their continued support.”

A team of volunteers will, when all safety measures have been implemented, take part in the restoration but a professional team will be removing the majority of the smoke damage. We currently believe this will be late February or early March.

The Pharos Trust has also been in contact with the Charity Commission to ensure our funding arrangements are compatible with our restoration plan and we are pleased to confirm that this is indeed the case. A Go Fund Me appeal has been started by Heather O’Neil, on behalf of the Pharos Trust, and this has so far exceeded £5000 of the £25000 target. The Charity Commission has approved this appeal.

Tony O’Neil said “Our solicitor is overseeing all the legal aspects of the restoration and this includes our charity status, which he himself was responsible for. We have always taken professional advice and followed legal routes to funding.”

Tony O’Neil added. “We are still planning to be involved in the 60th anniversary of offshore pirate radio, and we are working hard to ensure that the ship is ready for public events happening at Easter.”


Second update after the fire

Update 10.45pm 12 Feb 2024:

Due to the quantity of water needed to fight the fire, this had left the LV18 listing heavily to starboard. After a meeting involving marine professionals, overseen by a newly appointed marine surveyor, the ship has been made level and is not currently at risk. The appointed marine surveyor is now due in the next few days to identify anything else that needs to be done regarding the ship’s integrity.

A marine insurance surveyor / assessor is also due to visit although we have been in regular contact with our specialist marine insurers.

We have also confirmed with the Charity Commission that we are operating within their legal guidelines, and that the crowdfunding on our behalf is permitted. Copies of all legal and insurance documents will also be lodged with the Trust’s solicitor this week.

We are grateful to those who have already donated, your money will be used to restore the ship and contents and is ring-fenced for that purpose and will be held securely in the charity bank account. We have also had many offers of voluntary assistance but until the surveyors have agreed that it is safe then we have to wait.

We are, of course, grateful to all the officers from the emergency services who assisted saving the ship on the night of the fire and have been involved in the subsequent investigation.

A further update will be given when there is new information.

Pharos Trust


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

Broadcast Schedule 2023

Saturday 12th August

Midnight Garry Lee

2am Paul Windsor

5am Reverend Rabbit

6am Olly Kinvig

8am Chris Morgan

10am Jon Sketchley

Midday Ian Chambers

2pm Keith Skues

4pm Chris B

6pm Neon Nancy

7pm Stonehenge Disco

10pm Chris B

Sunday 13th August

Midnight Dave Kent

3am Paul Windsor

6am Olly Kinvig

9am Gordon Bathgate

10am Steven Foster

Midday Garry Lee

2pm Keith Skues

4pm Chris Cooper

5pm Jim Fourniadis

6pm Paul Windsor

7pm Ian Riches

9pm Party Time and Close Down

Radio Broadcast 2023 Official Press Release

DJ’s line up for a celebration of offshore Pirate Radio
Radio Mi Amigo will be joining up with Carillon Wellbeing Radio to return to the airwaves on Saturday and Sunday this week.
The two-day pirate radio event will take place on Harwich Quay and has attracted a host of DJs who are coming from near and far to transmit from the restored Lightvessel LV18 as a tribute to the 60’s offshore radio stations.
This year’s on-air team, headed by programme director and trustee Garry Lee, will bring back the popular sound of the offshore pirate stations that broadcast from just off the coast and were served from the Ha’penny Pier, which is now the LV18s permanent berth.
Joining the crew will be two DJs from America and music connoisseurs, former pirate radio and Radio 1 DJ Keith Skues and former BBC Suffolk presenter and current Radio Caroline DJ Stephen ‘Foz’ Foster.
The broadcast will run 24 hours a day, from midnight on Friday night until midnight on Sunday night, the 12th and 13th August.
This tribute to the offshore pirate radio stations will celebrate the likes of Radio Caroline, Radio London and several others that appeared off the coast of Harwich in the 1960s, bringing about a revolution in radio broadcasting.
Following the previous pirate radio broadcasts from LV18, which attracted thousands of visitors to the area, Radio Mi Amigo will celebrate the watery wireless days from the new studio, located on the bridge of the lightvessel.
Further to previous year’s events, LV18 will broadcast from her permanent berth by the Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, enabling members of the public to not only visit the classic vessel on Sunday, but to meet the DJ’s.
The classic heritage vessel LV18 featured in the film The Boat that Rocked and now hosts a pirate radio exhibition, with new interactive audiovisual systems and interpretation signage.
TUNE IN @ 1476khz AM if you are in the listening area.
OR : Listen Online @
(Player at bottom of the page).

Annual Live Radio Broadcast !!!!

It’s that time of year again. The anniversary of the Marine Offences Act is almost upon us. To mark the occasion, Radio Mi Amigo will be on the air again.

You will be able to listen on the internet and on 1476 Medium Wave. Broadcasting begins 0000 hrs Saturday 12th August 2023 and finishes 0000hrs on Monday 14th August.

Broadcasting will be jointly managed by Garry Lee and Jon Sketchley and our special guest DJs will include Stephen Foster (BBC Radio Suffolk and Radio Caroline) and Keith Skues (Radios Caroline, Luxembourg, London….the list goes on).

The LV18 will be open as usual over the weekend so we would love to see as many of you as possible on board and you may get to meet some of the DJs.

For further details, watch this space

Open for 2023

This year we will be open April 1st and will be open six days a week* until a yet to be confirmed date in October.

*opening is volunteer dependent. If in doubt or if you are part of a large group or a school party, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 07446171320. 

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.