07 February 2006

Sister ship!

Last week I got an email from a guy in the UK, asking me about a ship I'd sighted in the drydock here, the Víkingur AK100. He knew all sorts of specific details about the ship, including the original brand and type of engine in the boat, and included a link to an old photo of a boat he hoped was the same. I consulted with co-workers and we decided it probably was the same one (what do you think, gentle reader?)

In the next email, he offered me more information, and a link to his own website. He said:

"The reason I am looking for the ship is that I believe she is (or was) an identical twin to one that I am currently looking after as part of a voluntary restoration team. Our ship was originally christened the "Freyr" and registered in Reykjavik as RE1 in 1960. She was sold in 1963 by her original owners and renamed Ross Revenge and operated out of Grimsby here in England. She retired from fishing in the late 70's and worked as salvage ship and tug for a few years, but found a new lease of life in 1983 when she was converted to be an offshore (pirate) radio station. She did that until 1991, and since that time has been looked after and restored by a voluntary group and is now effectively a living,floating museum. We've always known that 3 identical ships were built at the same works in Bremerhaven as all our plans and blueprints show three different sets of serial numbers, with two crossed out. However, we have never been able to track down the names or registrations of the other two. It was only this weekend that someone gave me information relating to the names, hence my current quest to find the Vikingur AK100. The other ship turns up no references at all on Google, etc. Incredibly, it also seems there was a fourth identical ship, though built at a different works in Bremerhaven. We're not sure if this was the same works under a different name, or a different company entirely."

This story is awesome for a couple of reasons. First, I love that the ship sighting part of the blog (appreciated by few, I feel) has brought such a cool story. We're bringing people together across oceans, folks! Second, I love that this odd old boat I saw here most likely has a buddy that was a renegade radio station. Third, this UK-dwelling ship was the Original RE1 back in the day. I wonder how the ship registering people decide who gets it- is it always the best and brightest of the fleet? How do they decide when to hand over the crown?

We're still looking for more definitive information though, so I dug up a guy in Akranes that had a website with photos of his family and photos of the ships he had worked on, including the Víkingur, as well as the email of the fleet manager of the company that owns the boat. I'm also hoping that someone who reads this might know more. All my ship-questions have been answered by posting them here before, and this story is definitely worthy of further pursuit.

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