CARDIFF BAY’S MUCH-LOVED HELWICK LIGHTSHIP IS SAVED FROM THE SCRAPYARD

What had initially appeared to be a marine funeral cortege is in fact the beginning of a new lease of live for the old Helwick Lightship

What had initially appeared to be a marine funeral cortege  as the light ship left Cardiff under tow to Sharpness this morning turns out to be the beginning of a whole new lease of life for the old life-saver herself  –  the Helwick Lightship

The veteran Helwick lightship – which has been a familiar and much-loved feature of Cardiff Bay for more than 20 years – has been saved from scrapyard.

When the news broke last week that the vintage vessel was to be towed away from her berth in Cardiff Docks   – where she had served as a Christian drop-in centre and cafe – it was feared the lightship was nearing the last of her  days and would be scrapped.

Was this a maritime funeral cortege  for the old lightship as she turned up channel?

The pace of her departure was slow and steady and dignified as the old lightship was towed out into the Bristol Channel . She can be seen this morning temporarily anchored North of Penarth where she is waiting for the flood tide

It certainly looked like that at 08:00 this morning when the old lightship – which has done  her duty over the years warning shipping of dangerous banks and shallows around the coast of Britain –  was towed out into the grey mist and drizzle of the Bristol channel in what looked like a marine funeral cortege.

A Bristol Channel Pilot Launch - sharing the same colour as the Helwick Lightship made sure she had a proper send-off.

A Bristol Channel Pilot Launch – sharing the same colour scheme as the Helwick Lightship had made sure she had a proper send-off today.

She was being towed by the spud barge Arromanches with a second barge Sabrina acting as a retarder and with the red Bristol Channel Pilot launch also bustling about in attendance .

On Friday the lightship had been  moved from her berth at Britannia Quay to Queen Alexandra Dock – an occasion which was filmed by Ben Salter – skipper of the well-known Cardiff Bay excursion vessel “Daffodil”  .

On Friday the  Helwick Lightship was  moved off her berth in the Bay for the first time in 20 years (From Ben Salter's YouTube video )

On Friday the Helwick Lightship was moved off her berth in the Bay for the first time in 20 years (From Ben Salter’s YouTube video )

Ben’s video – paying a farewell tribute to “Lightship 14” as she is officially known –  can be seen on YouTube by following this link: –  http://tinyurl.com/ptjwccd

However later today Associated British Ports told PDN that it’s now been announced the Helwick Lightvessel is going to be put into dry dock in Sharpness and will be totally overhauled and restored by local entrepreneur Fred Larkham of Bristol Channel Ships. Eventually she will become a  floating museum at Newnham on the River Severn in Gloucestershire.

It somehow seemed appropriate that a ship which, in her career,  has saved so many lives, should now herself be saved.

 

 

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8 Responses to CARDIFF BAY’S MUCH-LOVED HELWICK LIGHTSHIP IS SAVED FROM THE SCRAPYARD

  1. Tony says:

    Lightship is making slow progress-seems to be anchored just of Penarth and channel is becoming increasingly choppy-not sure if all is going to plan!

  2. Ivor bagman says:

    Are they dragging the floating
    Voters back to Gloucester ?

  3. Andy Hall says:

    Shame to see that in the process of towing her away they managed to ground her on the Cardiff sands. One way of getting the barnacles off the bottom as the flood tide bounced her up the sand bank and ironic after a life of keeping vessels away from sand banks she falls foul of one herself.

  4. Alan James says:

    Last I heard was that she was moored further up the Severn awaiting the morning tide. I was down at the barrage yesterday when she left and spoke briefly with a former “Helwick” trustee, it seems that the floating museum may not be a definite outcome, but preservation is.
    For a short video of Helwick leaving Cardiff yesterday try this link; a couple of guys got very cold and wet making it.

  5. Big Dave says:

    Very few ever wanted to board her in Cardiff Bay because it was clearly a god squad operation. Had they taken the great big cross off the front they may have had a few takers for coffee and cake.

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