Ship details: A 763 ton passenger ferry Fredericia had been built in 1930 by the Frederikshavns V & F A/S in Frederikshavn (Denmark) having an ice strengthened hull (SPEED: 14 knots, LENGTH: 188 feet, BEAM: 18 feet). The vessel served as a ferry-boat on the Baltic until 1963.
On 13th February 1964 the Fredericia left Rotterdam for Greenore in the Republic of Ireland. On 5th March the Fredericia arrived at Greenore, work on converting her into a radio ship commenced. A 165 foot mast was erected, a large anchor system was installed and the ship strengthened to withstand continuous assault by wind and waves. The Fredericia was renamed Caroline, and the ship was registered in Panama. On 26th March the MV Caroline set sail under the command of Captain Coen Backer. Her destination was given as Spain. A Royal Navy destroyer inspected the MV Caroline as she passed Plymouth. On 27th March at 18:00 hours the MV Caroline dropped anchor off the coast of Felixstowe, Suffolk (UK). On 2nd July Radio Caroline and Radio Atlanta announced that the stations would merge. The MV Caroline would anchor off the coast of Ramsey, Isle of Man and broadcast as Radio Caroline North while the MV Mi Amigo would change ID to Radio Caroline South. Ronan O'Rahilly and Allan Crawford became joint managing directors. On 3rd July the MV Caroline set sail under the command of Captain Hangeveldt for the Isle of Man and continued to broadcast as she sailed. On 6th July the MV Caroline was off Anglesey, Wales then sailed to the Irish coast near Dublin. One week later at 15:00 the MV Caroline arrived off Ramsey, Isle of Man. During a severe south westerly gale on 13th January 1965 the starboard anchor was lost and the ship started to drift. Within a week a new one and a half ton anchor was fitted including four and a half tons of chain.
On 2nd March 1968 the powerful Dutch tug Utrecht dropped anchor a mile from the MV Caroline, it showed no signs of wanting to communicate with the MV Caroline. The following morning at 02:00 hours a loud thump was heard, before anyone could get to the deck Dutch seamen burst into the lounge, the Captain, chief DJ and the chief engineer were summoned to the lounge and a letter was read out from the Wijsmuller tender firm which stated that all broadcasting was to cease, the studios sealed and the transmitters crystals to be removed. After heated discussions the staff on the MV Caroline complied with the order to avoid all possibilities of violence. The crew were left in the dark regarding their future, were they being taken to Greenore to have the unused 50,000 Watt transmitter which was still cased in the hold installed, or were they returning off the Essex coast? Unknown to the crew, the same events were happening on the MV Mi Amigo, the Caroline South ship. The Wijsmuller Company was owed £30,000 for the tender services to both Caroline ships. One of the Wijsmuller brothers wanted to continue providing this service while the other did not, and had instructed two raiding party's to bring in the Caroline ships. At 18:00 hours the anchor systems had been cut away and a tow line had been fixed between the MV Caroline and the tug Utrecht, and a long slow tow southwards began. At times Navy vessels were seen following them. On 9th March the MV Caroline arrived in Amsterdam, the staff were paid and given air tickets back to England and told to wait for instructions, but none came.
On 29th May 1972 the MV Caroline was sold at a public auction for 26,500 Guilders to Frank Rijsdijk-Holland of Hendrick Ido-Ambacht. In 1980 the MV Caroline was scrapped by shipbuilder Van de Marel of Ouwerkerk, Netherlands and was broken up.
History of the MV Fredericia
1930 – 1963 as the Passenger & Cargo Motorship & as the MV Caroline Radio Ship from 1964 - 1972
1 deck : 693gt : 389nt : 500 dw : 200’1”/18’0”x32’3”x14’0”/13’5” : Frederikshavns Voerf & Flydedok A/S, Frederikshavn, no,187 : ID 4SA 6cyl. (450x850), type B&W445-MTF-85, 1040bhp, 12kn., A/S Burmeister & Wain’s Maskin-og Skibsbyggeri, Copenhagen
24.5.1929 – Ordered : 18.7.1929 - Keel : 14.11.1929 - Launch
14/15.3.1930 - Trial - 15.5.1930 - Delivered to DSDF, Kolding (from 15.4.1941 : Fredericia 15.9.1945, Aalborg. 25.1.1946, Kolding, 9.5.1959, Odense)
19.5.1930 until 7.4.1940 - In service Copenhagen-Fredericia-Middelfart-Kolding
1937 until 1939 & 1947 until 1950 Each summer she made a trip: Copenhagen – Koge or Elisinore with members of DFSD Sports Club
16.5.1940 until 21.6.1940 - Service mainly Copenhagen-Fredericia-Kolding
24.5.1940 until 28.5.1940 - Service temporally; Copenhagen-Samso-Odense
23.6.1940 until 3.8.1940 - Service Copenhagen-Aarhus-Fredericia-Kolding
6.8.194- until 21.9.1940 - Service Copenhagen-Fredericia-Koldong
24.9.1940 - In service mainly; Copenhagen-Fredericia-Vejle-Horsens
29.6.1941 until 20.9.1941 - Service also Copenhagen-Aarhus
20.9.1941 until 5.4.1943 - Laid up at Copenhagen
5.4.1943 until 25.7.1943 - Service Copenhagen-Samso-Odense
25.7.1943 until 26.3.1944 - Service again Copenhagen-Samso-Odense
30.4.1944 until 2.11.1944 - Laid up at Copenhagen
2.11.1944 until 15.2.1945 - Service Copenhagen-Fredericia-Kolding/Vejle/Horsens
17.2.1945 until 14.12.1945 - Service Copenhagen-Aarhus-Aalborg
1946 until 19.3.1959 - Service again Copenhagen-Fredericia-Kolding
1953 - Occasionally proceeded to Vejle or Sonderborg
29.5.1959 until 14.8.1963 - Service mainly during the summer season Copenhagen-Samso-Odense.
1960 - Service also Copenhagen-Randers/Horsens-Vejle
14.8.1963 Arrived at Copenhagen form Odense & laid up
30.12.1963 - Sold to Cross Channel container Services Limited (Ronan O’Rahilly) Greenore harbour. Price paid £20,000
8.1.1964 - Taken over by new owners who claimed to use her in service in UK-Ireland and to have her renamed ISEULT. However, transferred to Astrenic SA (Ronan O’Rahilly) Panama and renamed CAROLINE. Towed from Rotterdam to Greenore Harbour and converted into a broadcasting ship
27.3.1964 - Anchored in position 51. 59’ 30” North – 0. 1’ 32” off the coast of Suffolk as a radio ship, shifted to the Irish Sea in July 1964
13.7.1964 - Still lying at Ramsey Bay off Isle of Man as a radio ship
15.8.1967 - After the British Government legislation prevented supplies being delivered to any radio ship from British Ports CAROLINE continued broadcasting with supplies from the Netherlands
In 1968 a dispute with Wijsmuller arose over non-payment of supplies and in 3.3.1968 the tug UTRECHT towed her to Amsterdam and she was laid up
6.1972 - Auctioned to Frank Rijsdijk Holland NV, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht for demolition Price paid £3.117.00
1972 Demolition commenced
Offshore radio station: Radio Caroline (North) from Good Friday 27th March 1964 to 2nd March 1968
Location: International waters off Felixstowe (UK), later off Ramsey (Isle of Man)