Mary and Chris were privileged to be the first visitors aboard the Mebo
lll, on Saturday June 12th 1999, to take a photographic record of the work in
progress. The lightship was moored at a derelict pier, and was only accessible
by cadging a lift on the Harwich harbour ferry. The workers were taking a lunch-break
when we arrived.
Every off-shore radio station has to have its own ghost, and we quickly made the acquaintance of the one in the mess-room. One of the lockers in which the crew used to stow the goodies their families sent to sustain them during long stints at sea, refuses to shut, no matter how much electrical tape is used to seal it. A crewman is said to have been found slumped in this locker, where he had died of a heart attack. The late seaman clearly wants his locker door left open!
Unlike the Yeoman Rose, this ship is designed to accommodate a full crew, and has comfortable cabins and mess rooms. Offshore posters and memorabilia adorn the walls. The lifeboat had been launched and tested that morning, and was soon to be pressed into service as a painting platform for lettering the station name on her sides. Paul Graham kindly allowed us to go inside the light-tower, which will not normally be open to visitors. It is only accessible via extremely long and dangerous vertical ladders, and is one hell of a sixty-feet climb. We didn't envy the sailors who had been obliged to ascend it in Force Fives and worse, to perform maintenance.
Despite the recent vandalisation, (why did that ghost let them get away with it?) the Mebo lll is nearing readiness for becoming the home of Radio Northsea International's RSL.
Our thanks go to Paul and the guys for allowing us to tour the ship. Hope it's calm for the RSL!
List of following pictures:
The fore-deck. The winches are totally rusted-up, so will be removed to provide more Anorak space!
Paul on the bridge with a well-known picture...
The aft-deck and heli-pad.
Mary, Paul and the light-tower.
Paul poses for the 'Mr Millennium Boilersuit' calendar, beside the ship's beacon.
You can still push it round with your little-finger! Honest.
Mary in the Master's day-room with the workers, Clive Boutell, Paul Graham and Tony O'Neill.
Paul with one of the two 5kW generators.
The other one will be refurbished as a standby.
Notice the Frankenstein switch-gear behind!