Ship details: In 1955 the Magdalena, ex Centricity was built at Walsend on the Tyne for F T Everard and Sons of London to carry grain. The 655 gross ton ship was 225.5 feet long and 28.33 feet wide. In 1977 the ship was sold to Internavo Company Ltd and registered in Cyprus, and was renamed Demi. One year later, the ship was sold to Magda Shipping and Commercial Enterprises of Honduras who renamed the ship Magdalena. Germain Bois and Patrick van Acoleyen spent a great deal of time rebuilding the Magdalena. Extra holds were installed so that fifteen months of fuel and twelve months supply of drinking water could be loaded on to the ship. 

The ship was actually purchased by former Radio Atlantis boss Adriaan van Landschoot. He went to Greece to buy the vessel, after she was fitted out for Radio Mi Amigo. (Information by Herbert Visser]

In June 1979, the Magdalena was anchored off Zeebrugge, Belgium. On 17th July it was reported that the Magdalena was anchored off Goeree-Overflakkee, Province of Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands. Later the anchorage was changed to Thornton Bank. On 22nd August, polluted fuel put the station off air again. Strong winds made the ship drag her anchor. On 12th September one of the generators broke down. One day later the ship dragged its anchor four miles off Overflakkee, Holland. Broadcasts stopped at 06:10 hours. On 14th September the Magdalena dragged her anchor for a distance of ten miles. On 17th September the Magdalena drifted onto the Middledeep, between Middle bank and Steenbanken, eight miles from Walcheren Island. The crew had tried to start the ships engine but could not get the compressor to work. The next day the vessel had now drifted twenty-eight miles. At 06:00 hours (Dutch time) the transmitter was switched on but by 06:10 hours had to be switched off again as strong winds were forcing the ship towards Zeegat van Brouwershaven. 

On 19th September the Magdalena entered Dutch Territorial waters in a force eight storm. During nightfall the ship ran aground on the southern part of the Aardappelenbult sandbank (off Zeeland, Holland). A lifeboat from Stellendam went out to assist the crew but no one on board wanted to leave the Magalena. During the night the Magdalena dragged her anchor and went further over the sandbank. On 21st September Dutch police arrested the Magdalena, four DJ’s, the ships Captain and three crew being aboard. After the police launch RP-9 pulled the MV Magdalena off the sandbank, the ship was in sinking condition. The ship was, by order of the Dutch State-Police, saved and towed to a small harbour at Stellendam, by the tug and salvage company Theunisse of Dintelsas. On 24th September 14:15 hours the Magdalena arrived at Willemstad (about nineteen miles inland of Rotterdam). Police ordered the ship to be scrapped immediately. Some time later the Magdalena was moved to the small harbour of De val, close to the Zeelandbrug, near the town of Zierikzee. First, the ship was sold, given away to be correct, by the Dutch State to Heuvelman Steel at ‘s-Gravendeel for 14,000 Guilders. On 26th September Mr Van der Marel, (the same man who had purchased the Radio Caroline ship Frederica and the Radio Scotland ship, Comet), so called purchased the Magdalena from Heuvelman, now for a price of 28,000 Guilders. This second (fake) sale was just a financial/technical maneuver to keep Heuvelman out off trouble incase something should go wrong during scrapping. The ship was then taken to her breakers yard: Van de Marel on the river Eastern-Schelde, near Ouwerkerk/Viane, Province of Zeeland. During the month October 1979 the Magdalena was cut up into scrap metal. 

The Dutch State played a rather peculiar role in this whole affair: towards the owners of the MV Magdalena, as also towards the salvage & tug company Theunisse. A 10 year long grim War developed between this company and the Dutch Government about a salvage fee, which war remains still unsolved today (more about this: read “No Cure-No Pay versus the Dutch Government”). [Information by Geert Theunisse]

Offshore radio station: Radio Mi Amigo International from 25th June to 12th September 1979

Location: International waters off Zeebrugge (Belgium), later off Goeree Overflakkee, (Province of Zuid-Holland, Netherlands) and on Thornton Bank

Photo Theo Dencker