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Mebo II

Former Name(s)

Silvretta

Description

Ex-Norwegian coaster

Length

186’ (56.6m)

Tonnage

630 tons

Built

1948 by De Groot and Vliet, Slikkerveer, Holland

Flag state(s)

Panama

Stations Housed

Radio North Sea International (RNI)

(23rd January - 24th September 1970 and February 1971 - 31st August 1974)

Radio Caroline

(13th - 20th June 1970)

Ultimate fate

After a prolonged legal battle in the Dutch courts the ship was sold to the Libyian Government in 1977 and after eighteen months as a radio ship in the Mediterranean she was used for target practice by the Libyian military and sunk 1984 (see El Fatah)

See also El Fatah

Mebo II Mebo II as Silvretta Mebo II as Silvretta

Top: Mebo II and Angela in Slikkerveer, 1975     

Bottom: Mebo II and Angela leave for Libya, January 1977

Mebo II and Angela in Slikkerveer Mebo II and Angela leaving Holland

See El Fatah for details of this ship’s home to offshore radio stations in Libya

After RNI closed on 31st August 1974 there were plans for the Mebo II to be overhauled and sail to Italy to broadcast programmes for Radio Nova International, from a position off the coast of Genoa.

The Mebo II was towed into the De Groot van Vliet shipyard, Holland on 9th September 1974 and dry docked (together with the former tender, Mebo I, re-named Angela). On 10th October 1974 both ships were seized by Dutch authorities because a new law forbade ships to carry radio transmitters other than for maritime communications.

On 10th December 1974 the courts decided that both ships could leave Holland once the radio transmitters had been removed from Mebo II. An appeal hearing on 25th March 1975 accepted that, as a  ship was registered in Panama and with the transmitters being classed as cargo the vessel was under Panamanian jurisdiction.

On 26th January 1976 the court finally decided that the Mebo II could leave port, provided that it sailed within two months and did not transmit from European waters for two years. Arguments continued for many more months about the payment of a bond and a fine for bringing the radio ship into Holland after the Dutch Marine Offences Act came into force on 31st August 1974.

In November 1976 both the Mebo II and Angela were dry docked, repaired and repainted. On 14th January 1977 both ships finally left harbour and sailed towards Rotterdam. A detention order was briefly placed on Mebo II after she damaged two other ships in harbour, but this was lifted when compensation was paid. Both ships left port on 16th January 1977 and arrived off Tripoli, Libya on 9th February, entering the harbour a week later after irregularities in their registration papers had been sorted out. The two vessels had been leased to Colonel Gadaffi’s government as broadcast bases while Mebo Ltd installed landbased transmitters for the People’s Revolutionary Army.

On 8th August 1977 both the Mebo II and Angela sailed to Benghazi and then on to Derna harbour (600 miles east of Tripoli). The Mebo II was moved back to Benghaziat the end of October 1977.

In January 1978 the Mebo II returned to Tripoli and In April  both ships were acquired by the Libyan Government and re-named El Fatah (Mebo II) and Almasira (Angela).

In 1984 both ships were used as target practice by the Libyan Air Force and Navy and sunk in the Gulf of Sidra.

AFTER OFFSHORE  RADIO

Above: Two views of the Mebo II as the Silvretta in the late 1960’s

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Thanks to Martin van der Ven for allowing us to use some additional information from the Broadcasting Fleet section of the Offshore Radio Guide  in this Gallery

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