Lifeboats launched
Mr. Dick Townshend, coastguard press officer, said Walton-on-Naze coastguards were contacted by radio telephone at 03.15 on 31st January 1986, and they were told the anchor had parted and the ship was drifting in the Thames estuary.  The coastguards were called again 15 minutes later to be told the ship was heading south-west with both engines running. They were without navigation equipment and shortly after that we lost touch with them. Shortly before 05.00 an emergency call was put out by coastguards for vessels in the Thames estuary to watch out for the Ross Revenge. At 07.46 the coaster Sam Weaver reported it had located the vessel by the North-East Knock in the Thames estuary, recalled Mr. Townshend. Ten minutes later the Sheerness lifeboat arrived on the scene and confirmed the Ross Revenge was safe, before escorting the Ross with both her engines running, back to her original position, the Margate lifeboat was released to return to station.

Back on Station
The Ross Revenge later managed to drop an emergency anchor and the 558khz frequency came back on-air mid-afternoon with continuous music, and shortly after Peter Philips announced "Radio Caroline apologises for the loss of transmissions today due to damage sustained during severe weather conditions, regular transmissions will be resumed at the earliest possible opportunity. This evenings numbers are 232, 239 and 240. For now from the entire crew of the Ross Revenge, we wish you a very good evening". They played out with New Riders of the Purple Sage with On my way back home.

Cleared Frequency
That same day, 3rd February 1986, the Daily Telegraph stated that the DTI were planning a secret operation to scupper Radio Caroline to clear her frequency for the BBC's Essex station. Mr. Henry Price, assistant head of BBC Engineering said no frequency is as good as 558 for Essex and while Radio Caroline remains there, it will be very difficult for us to provide a county-wide service. The DTI refused to expand on their plans and said they wouldn't want to show our hand just yet. The following days Ipswich Evening Star gave quite the opposite story, the DTI admitted to them that is was very difficult to know what to do next. All we can do is try to stop those people who are supplying them. What else can we do?, it's a very difficult problem. There are no definite plans at the moment, but we obviously want them off the air, bearing in mind the situation with Radio Essex. We just hope they will follow the example of Radio Laser and come into port.



Daily Mail 1-2-1986




Sunday Telegraph 2-2-1986


Steve Essex, Tony Peters and Kevin Turner


Peter Philips

Peter Philips

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