Beaming marvellous

LV18 Lightship, at night, from inside the Cult Cafe

LV18 Lightship, at night, from inside the Cult Cafe - Credit: Archant

The beacon of the historic LV18 lightship has been lighting up the Ipswich skies this week - to celebrate graduations at the University of Sufolk.

The big red lightship is moored at Orwell Quay, on Ipswich Waterfront.

The 40 metre vessel, which was the last manned working lightship, is in residency.

After special permission was given by the local authorities, including the port owners, the enormous beam which originally warned mariners of danger, was switched on to the illuminate the surrounding buildings and area.

It happened at 8.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will take place for the final time tonight (Thursday), for about 15 minutes.

At sea, the light can be seen for 25 miles.

Tony O’Neil, LV18 spokesman, said: “It is really quite spectacular. It was such a sight seeing the lantern turning round and illuminating the buildings around the perimeter of the Wet Dock.

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“We have had a lot of lovely comments. It is going down a storm really.”

Around the coast and waterways of the UK now marine warning lights are on a variety of unmanned buoys and moored ships, with the system controlled from Harwich by Trinity House.

The LV18 is due to return to its mooring in Harwich during November. While in Ipswich it is open to visitors.