Relandersgrund Lightship - Helsinki, Finland


Lighthouse category:  lightship

Position:  60°10'9.65"N : 24°57'32.26"E

Status: inactive

Date:  1888

Designer:  not known - built by Crichton & Co AB, Turku, Finland

Tower height:  not known

Construction: lightship

Colour scheme: red hull with white funnel and superstructure, name in large white letters on sides of hull

Focal plane height:  not known

Characteristics: not applicable

Foghorn:  not applicable

Google map view:   google map link 

This very picturesque lighthship has had a long and, for a vessel that was never intended to be anything more than a static navigation aid,  surprisingly exciting career.  Built in  1888 by the Turku shipbuilders Crichton & Co AB, the ship served on the Relandersgrund Station for 26 years.  In 1917 the lightship's Russian crew decided to celebrate the Revolution and somehow managed to sail the ship across the Gulf of Finland.  However their enthusiasm for vodka far outweighed their navigational skills and, in their drunken state, they managed to run it aground off the coast of Estonia where it promptly sank.  The fate of the crew is not recorded but the lightship probably fared rather better than they did as, in 1918, the new government of an independent Finland had it salvaged and sent to Tallinn for repair.  Once returned to full health it was sent back to Finland where it served as a reserve lightship before finally being decommissioned in 1937.  The historical record then becomes a little hazy and little is known about the ship's whereabouts until it was sold for scrap in 1978.  However, this is clearly one of the world's great survivors because, somehow, it escaped the breaker's torch and turned up in Kotka with its former name restored to serve as a restaurant.  In 2005 the ship was relocated to Helsinki where it continues to function as a restaurant.  One is inclined to wonder what the next career move will be!

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