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Radio Mi Amigo 272 - History (2)

The Stellendam lifeboat was launched and came alongside the Magdalena, but the Radio Mi Amigo 272 staff - three engineers and five DJs - decided to stay on board the stranded radio ship even though during the night she became more firmly embedded on the sandbank.

The Magdalena remained lodged on the sandbank for two days until, on the morning of 21st September 1979, the police launch Delfshaven went out and officially arrested the radio ship. The crew on board was informed that the ship would be towed into Maasluis before they themselves were removed from the vessel. Two Belgian nationals were handed over to the Belgian authorities, while the Dutchmen were arrested and held in custody for two days.

An unsuccessful attempt was made by a salvage tug to pull the Magdalena from the sandbank but it was not until mid-afternoon on 23rd September 1979 that a police launch managed to free the radio ship.  

Once re-floated the listing Magdalena was towed to the small harbour of Stellendam while a temporary repair was made to her leaking hull. She was then taken on to Willemstad where she arrived on 24th September 1979 and police ordered that she should be scrapped as unseaworthy. After a short time in this port, the radio ship was moved yet again to the van de Marel scrapyard near Ouwerkerk/Viane, Zeeland where she was broken up in October 1979.

Meanwhile, Radio Mi Amigo 272 DJ Ferry Eden put a brave face on the situation: -"We'll be back" he announced, "whatever happens to the ship." The Mi Amigo organisation and the Honduran consul in Holland both made formal complaints to the Dutch Government about the way in which the police had impounded the Magdalena and ordered her scrapping, but to no avail.

In June 1981 a number of people appeared in court in Belgium charged with being involved in the operation of Radio Mi Amigo 272 from the Magdalena during 1979. On 28th June 1981 station owner, Sylvain Tack (who by then was living in Haiti) was sentenced in his absence to 12 months imprisonment and fined. 118 other people were also prosecuted either in connection with the operation of Radio Mi Amigo 272 or with advertising on the station.

Appeals against 49 of these sentences reached the Appeal Court in Ghent eighteen months later, in December 1982. Thirty were acquitted, half because the statute of limitations had expired, but 14 others had fines reduced and all jail sentences were quashed and replaced by fines.

By the time of these appeals Sylvain Tack (who had not appealed against his sentence) was himself in jail in France after being caught smuggling drugs into that country from South America.

Click on picture to enlarge

The Magdalena listing badly after being salvaged from a sandbank

Photo: Hans Knot


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