M.V. King David

Ship details: The 359 ton and 148 foot coaster Unitas, later called Zeevaart, was built in Groningen (Netherlands) in 1938 by Noord Ned Schps, In 1969 the vessel was purchased for 50,000 Guilders. In Groningen harbour the Zeevaart’s hull was rebuilt, a new rudder and screw were also installed. In March 1970 the MV King David sailed from Groningen harbour to Zaandam where the ex Radio 270 equipment was installed. A new type of loop aerial was installed, suspended from a mast amidship, it was originally designed by the US intelligence and produced only a ground wave. The ship was then renamed King David and registered in Liechtenstein, the first vessel to fly the country’s flag.

On 25th April the King David put to sea in a force eight gale, but returned a few hours later with the aerial all twisted. The harbour master refused the ship permission to enter because the aerial was a danger to other ships. The MV King David sailed to Scheepswerf Vooruit where repairs were carried out. 

On 10th September an insulator’s damage was more extensive then thought and the King David was instructed to return to harbour. The anchor could not be lifted and the anchor chain was cut. The MV King David sailed to Zaandam. One day later the MV King David set sail for IJmuiden to repair the aerial. A new five ton anchor and chain was placed on board. Also put on board were two sten guns, two machine rifles, a Browning machine gun and a number of nerve gas bombs – all had been supplied by a West German company. The directors of Capital Radio had arranged for these arms to be taken aboard after Kees Manders unsuccessfully tried to hijack Radio Nordsee International on the 29th of August. On 10th October Capital Radio was back on air. On 10th November at 02:00 hours the Captain discovered the ship had lost its anchor, the emergency anchor was dropped but did not hold the ship in the force nine storm. A Mayday was broadcast and was received by Scheveningen Radio, IJmuiden lifeboat was launched, the Noordwijk beach rescue boat “Kurt Carlsen” also launched – all the crew except the Captain and the radio engineer were taken off. The ship eventually beached at Noordwijk, two-hundred yards from the Palace Hotel.

On 13th November the Wijsmuller tug Hector towed the MV King David clear of the beach. 5 days later the vessel was taken to Amsterdam dry dock at Westerdock. On 26th November police and harbour authorities served a writ on the ship on behalf of the Wijsmuller company for the salvage fee for towing the MV King David off the beach at Noordwijk. The International Broadcasters Society had problems with the insurance company paying out for the salvage fees. The MV King David was towed to Betuwe, province of Gelderland, Holland where it was used as a warehouse for a steel company. In 1972 the ship was auctioned and sold to a ship yard in Heerwaarden, Holland. The King David was then towed to where the rivers Maas and Waal cross each other. In 1981 a new shed was built on the wharf, and the ship was moved to another mooring between the villages of Heerwaarden and Kerkdriel where the remainder of the hull was filled with concrete and used as the base for a floating pier. In 1984 the hull was sunk in seven metres of water and is used by a local diving club for practising under water swimming.

Offshore radio station: Capital Radio from 1st May to 9th November 1970

Location: International waters off the coast of Noordwijk (Netherlands)