Today (Monday 6 Sept) marked a change in how Britain hopes to help shipping in its coastal waters. "Royal Sovereign", one of the world's most famous light ships, became the first Trinity House Lightship to be replaced by a new light tower.
AV's showing lightship "Royal Sovereign" (2 shots)
GV & LV New lighthouse station (3 shots)
LV Helicopter approaching and landing on lighthouse platform (2 shots)
GV PAN told lightship being towed away (2 shots)
Initials OS/047 OS/2342
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Background: Today (Monday 6 Sept) marked a change in how Britain hopes to help shipping in its coastal waters. "Royal Sovereign", one of the world's most famous light ships, became the first Trinity House Lightship to be replaced by a new light tower.
There has been a lightship on the Royal Sovereign shoal off Beachy Head for almost a century, and replacing it with a light tower gave construction experts one of the toughest tasks ever. Extreme weather conditions including fogs and violent storms caused the cost of the new tower to escalate from 500,000 pounds sterling -- the original estimate -- to 1,600,000 pounds sterling.
Six of Britain's lightships are due to be taken out of service within the next two months, but the Trinity House Board, which controls the service, is examining carefully the costing of the replacements.
SYNOPSIS: Britain's lightship "Royal Sovereign" was towed away from Beachy Head on Monday after nearly century of service in British Coastal waters. The replacement, a light tower, gave construction experts one of the toughest tasks ever. Its original cost of five hundred thousand pounds had escalated into one million six hundred thousand pounds. The experts came near to despair over its construction.
Violent storms, thick fog, unusual tides every hazard that the English Channel is notorious for, hindered building. Even when the four thousand-ton floating concrete base was ready for towing into place, the shoal on which it was to be sunk was found to be covered in boulders. The whole job had to be replanned.
Lightships cost a million pounds to build and nearly thirty thousand pounds a year to maintain, and are now so vulnerable to weather and collision hazards that they must be replaced. Six more will go in the next two months, but careful costing is being carried out before towers or manned buoys replace them.