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King David


Ship details: The Light vessel LV3 was built in 1949 by Phillips of Dartmouth, Devon for Trinity House for use as a lightship. The ship was 41.9 metres long (137 feet), 7.6 metres wide (25 feet) and had a displacement of 523.8 tons. From 1984 to 1994 the LV3 was used as a lightship station off the English coast at Channel, Outer Gabbard and Kentish Knock. The former Trinity Lightship Number 3 was purchased by ship broker Harry Pounds for £20,000. It was then sold to Dutch agents, headed by Herbert Visser for £30,000.

The ship was taken to Whale Island, Portsmouth, in April and for six weeks, some conversion work was carried out by Worldwide Broadcast Consultants. In the team doing the work were Paul Rusling and his former Caroline shipmate, Dave West from the Isle of Man. At this time Peter Chicago was working with WBC on the Nozema mast at Rotterdam for Radio Veronica and his next job was to be on the King David. The ship was briefly moved to Southampton to have the aerial mast erected, but this work did not take place because work on the lightship ceased due to rumours that the owners had run out of money. The Dutch agents then started buying very cheap scrap transmitters from Germany (NDR) which were taken in a truck to the ship and at this time the professional engineers left the project.   [Information by Paul A. Rusling]

As far as I remember, Peter Chicago was working for Tony Collins at that time. And he didn't have time to work on the King David. Other Caroline engineers Mike Watts and James Kay however did go there. And the "professional engineer" who left the project was Caroline engineer Steve Masters. He was replaced by a Dutch engineer called Ed Bakker who completed the work. Paul Rusling played a role at the startup of this event, but his role was very minor in the whole project. He certainly was no longer involved in fitting out the ship, as this was taken care of by Dutch Ronald Thonhauser (a former captain of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior and actually one of the founders of Greenpeace . Ronald in the late 1970's once led the famous escape of the Rainbow Warrior out of a port in Spain where the ship had been chained up ). [Information by Herbert Visser]

By now the lightship had been painted white, aerial mast sections stored on the rear deck where they could easily be seen by anyone. No secret was made that it was to be a radio ship and the old NDR transmitters were loaded on board, but nothing was connected. The Dutch agents claimed this was all legal, however nobody else believed it and would not trust the DTI in the UK to not act against the ship. The lightship, now owned by a Mauritius based company named Blackbeard/Bluebeard renamed the ship "King David" and was re-registered in Panama.

In January 1996 the British authorities raided the ship as they had been tipped off by some Belgians who wanted to use the ship for a pop station in the North Sea. The British authorities could not get inside the ship which had been made very secure by welding up the portholes etc, ready for the long tow to Israel (the ship never had any engines fitted, ever), so they just confiscated the mast, which was lying on deck, and left the all the transmitters on board. At the end of the 1990s, the British DTI decided to give the masts to Radio Caroline, their old enemy as they believe she will never go back to sea again! Shortly after the raid, the ship and Lithuanian crew was towed out to sea by the tug Tamar, heading towards Israel. On 30th January the King David and the tug Tamar arrived in Lisbon, to undertake some repair work. [Information by Paul A. Rusling]

In May 1996 the King David had arrived off the coast of Ashdod. Until 5th January 2000, the King David was constantly anchored off Tel Aviv, close to the MV Hatzvi (Arutz Sheva). On this very day the ship ran aground at Tel Baruch beach. On August 28th 2000, the Israeli officials towed the King David from the beach off Tel Baruch to a secure place in the open sea to let it finally sink...

In January 1996 te British Authorities raided the ship after the Israeli Embassy in London sent a fax to the British Foreign Ministry, asking the British Authorities to do everything within their power to stop the ship from going to broadcast off the coast of Tel Aviv (really!). The Jewish people involved were quite open about the whole thing, and screamed on their Tel Aviv landbased pirate station Channel 2000 that their ship was already being fitted out in England, and pledged their listeners for more money ! As all communications
between Portsmouth, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv were all going via mobile phone it wasn't difficult for the Israeli
Authorities to discover that there really was a vessel ! There were never any Belgians involved tipping off the British Authorities. In 1999 the British DTI decided to give the mast back to me (as I had put a claim on the mast immediately after it was impounded, I also have the supporting documents in which I indemnify the British Government in the event anyone else comes up with a claim, which won't happen because I arranged this with the Israeli owners of the project as they still had to give me quite some money. Legally, a Government simply can't "just give something impounded" to someone else). Peter Moore, thinking that he'd need the DTI in the future, presented it as if the DTI gave this mast to Caroline. But that's actually not true. I was the one who gave Caroline that mast. After all... what can I do with a mast designed to put on a ship, while I don't have that ship ? And really, that mast would look pretty neat on the Ross Revenge, the vessel which actually also used to be my "home" for a while in 1986 and 1987 on the Northsea !
[Information by Herbert Visser]

Offshore radio station: Arutz 2000 from 28th August 1996 till February 1997 (?)

Location: Just within national waters off Tel Aviv (Israel)