Programming continued as normal that day with Radio Caroline North ending its transmissions shortly after 10.00pm following the regular Saturday night "Country and Western Jamboree", presented by Don Allen.
But the DJs and crew of the MV Caroline were awoken at 2.00am on Sunday 3rd March 1968 by a loud thump as the tug Utrecht came alongside and Dutch seamen boarded the radio ship. They made for the Captain's cabin and summoned senior DJ Don Allen and the Chief Engineer to read a letter from the Wijsmuller Tender and Offshore Supply Co. stating that broadcasting was to cease , the studios were to be sealed and the transmitter crystal removed. Radio Caroline staff entered into a heated argument with the Dutch boarders about the legitimacy of their action, which amounted to piracy on the high seas, but with the threat of physical violence ever present they reluctantly complied with the instructions contained in the letter.
In what had been a carefully planned and co-
None of the staff on either radio ship knew for certain what was happening, other than the obvious fact that they had been forcibly put off the air. At first they didn't even know of their sister ship's fate.
The tow for the Caroline North ship, MV Caroline, was a much longer one than for Caroline South’s Mi Amigo, lasting several days and she was shadowed for part of the journey by Royal Navy vessels. At first the crew thought the ship was heading for Greenore to be fitted with a new transmitter or, when it became obvious that this was not the case, they speculated that they may be going to take over Radio Caroline South broadcasts from off the Essex coast while the Mi Amigo was being repaired.
Neither theory proved to be correct and the MV Caroline arrived in Amsterdam on 8th March 1968 where she was docked near the Mi Amigo. It soon became clear that Radio Caroline would not be returning to the air from either of these vessels in the near future.
After their arrival in Amsterdam staff were paid off, given tickets to fly back to Britain and told to await instructions to return -
The authorities did not stop or prosecute any of the Radio Caroline DJs when they re-
Philip Solomon, who by that time was the real force behind Radio Caroline, insisted that Wijsmuller put the ships back to sea before any debts would be paid, but the tender company insisted on payment first and continued to hold both ships in Amsterdam as security.
Nevertheless the Post Office and the British Government had achieved what they wanted all along -
The Radio Caroline organisation put a brave face on the situation in early March 1968, promising that the station would return once repairs had been completed and insurance arrangements sorted out. However, with the continuing arguments over unpaid bills to the tender company there was no real chance of the station's immediate return from either the Caroline or the Mi Amigo.
Ronan O'Rahilly then started to put together his own package for re-
MV Caroline being towed into Amsterdam, March 1968
MV Caroline under tow to Amsterdam
MV Caroline shortly after arrival in Amsterdam,
Click on picture to enlarge
4th March 1968
4th March 1968
5th March 1968
For more of Radio Caroline’s history see:-
17th March 1968
The last ever broadcast from Caroline North, Don Allen
2nd March 1968
Statement from the Captain of the MV Caroline accepting responsibility for the cessation of transmissions from his vessel, 2nd March 1968.
Click to enlarge
Courtesy Kenny Tosh
The anchor chain being cut.
Photo: Kenny Tosh
Ship and Location
Visit the Special Exhibition on the Ground Floor to see photographs of the Caroline ships after they were towed away in March 1968.