All hands on deck to save last of the lightships

Volunteers are campaigning to save Scotland’s last lightship from sinking.
The North Carr lightship is moored in Dundee. Picture: John DevlinThe North Carr lightship is moored in Dundee. Picture: John Devlin
The North Carr lightship is moored in Dundee. Picture: John Devlin

Owned by charity Tay Maritime Action (Taymara) the North Carr lightship – a lighthouse on a ship – is moored in Dundee awaiting restoration as an exhibition space.

A major leak almost caused the vessel, first launched in 1933, to sink.

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Bob Richmond, chairman of Taymara, told STV News: “We’ve set up a 12-phase plan and we’re looking for funding now for the first two phases to get the vessel out of the water and make her at least tight from the ingress of water.”

“It’s going to take a lot of time to restore this because she has had the ravages of time against her. There’s quite a bit of rust.”

Forty years of service off the coast of Fife and another four decades in dock have taken their toll.

The charity previously launched a £1m fundraising drive in 2016 in an attempt to fully restore the ship. They hope this fresh drive will generate cash to bring the boat back from 
the brink.

Emergency crews were called out on last Sunday after the alarm was raised and firefighters pumped water out.

Richmond said, “The water was only about 150ml off the portholes. which would have let the water come in and would have meant a loss of the vessel. As soon as we got the water out we thought we could identify where the water was coming from. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to do that so far. 
So it will be monitoring over the next few weeks until we can locate that and stop the leak.”

The ship, once operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board, was stationed off the North Carr rocks near Fife, warning ships away from the treacherous North Carr reef. She remained in service until 1975 and was used as a museum in Anstruther before being purchased from a scrapyard in 2010 for £1.

December saw the 60th anniversary of the Mona lifeboat disaster.

On 8 December 1959, all hands were lost on the lifeboat sent to assist the North Carr Lightship, which was adrift in St Andrews Bay.