Robb Eden: The MV Ross Revenge in Cairnryan (Scotland) in the early eighties

To add to much of the historical information already published about the Ross Revenge I’ve sent you some interesting photos which were taken by me during our first trip to view the Ross in Cairnryan. On inspection by both myself and Chicago it soon became apparent that we had found the ship we had been seeking to replace the Mi Amigo. We had to act quickly as the ship had been impounded and was due to be broken up.

To set things in motion I contacted the High Sheriff’s office in Glasgow to inform them of our interest and appointed Frederick Levine of Frederick & Co. to act for us. Following the purchase Koos van Duin and Leunis Troost became involved as their maritime knowledge and connection with offshore radio was long established. Koos and Leunis flew over from Holland and after picking them up from the airport they stayed overnight at our cottage in the Cotswolds before we drove up to Cairnryan the next day.

Before setting sail, a number of things had to be done, including purchasing supplies which I organised locally and items from Thomas Foulks, the chandlers in Leytonstone, London. This included a 10-man life-raft, extinguishers, fire blankets etc. The total bill came to £1,096.04. The ship was also registered to Grophan Steamship Lines Inc., Panama City.

Koos tried a number of times to start the main ship’s engine but it soon became apparent that we needed help. I contacted Silas Oates in Plymouth, the former Captain and owner, but was finding it impossible to hold a conversation with him as he had been drinking. I managed to obtain the name of a former crew member, Brian Pierce and spoke to his mother. I can’t honestly remember whether it was Silas Oats or Brian who came up to Cairnryan but monies passed hands, the engines were started and the ship sailed to Santander.

Leunis’s ship, The Truman, was already berthed at the Astilleros de Santander therefore, on arrival, the Ross Revenge had immediate phone and telex contact as these were already established for the Truman. If you look carefully at a couple of the photos you will see the Ark Royal in the background. Another shot shows the Ark Royal side onto the jetty. At the time it may not have seemed relevant but when Nicky Horne interviewed me for Thames Television he asked whether we had already bought a new ship to which I replied “there’s no truth in the rumour that we’ve bought the Ark Royal”.

To establish the facts, I would like to emphasise that working for Radio Caroline often meant robbing Peter to pay Paul especially after the Mi Amigo sank. The roadshow money dried up but bills still needed to be paid. It was sometimes difficult for those not in the immediate circle to understand this, especially since most thought nothing was being done. As we near Caroline’s 60th anniversary I hope the beneficiaries of our endeavours, the current crew and listeners, appreciate the work we put in to ensure that the Caroline name lives on.

Enjoy 26 pictures by clicking here.
Ross Revenge in Cairnryan (photo Robb Eden)