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Ships - Revivals and Tributes

Planet  (LV23)

Built in 1959 by Philip and Son of Dartmouth for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. The 500-tonne former Mersey Bar Lightship, Planet,  is 125’ (38.2m) long.

Planet had a crew of seven and was anchored at the Mersey Bar, 15 miles from Liverpool's Pier Head.

In 1972 Planet was replaced by a Lanby buoy – a Large Automatic Navigational Buoy. Planet was then sold to Trinity House (and became LV23) in 1972.

From February 1974 - 18th July 1975 she served at the  Kentish Knock station.

Between late 1975 and mid 1979 Planet was at the Varne staton.

In August 1979 she was repositioned to the Channel station where she saw service for 10 years, before finally being withdrawn on 10th June 1989.

On 25th July 1991  Planet arrived in Portsmouth under tow after sale to shipbreakers, Pound's Marine Services Ltd.

In 1992 she was re-sold to Liverpool businessmen Mike Critchley and Keith Gane, who brought the lightship to the Cammell Laird's Wet Basin and later to Birkenhead Docks.

In 1997 the Liverpool Marine Radio and Electronic Society used the lightship for an exhibition and members of this society later founded the Mersey Lightvessel Preservation Society, with plans to rebuild the lightship to its original look.

During 2002 Planet was open to the public at the Historic Warship Museum, Birkenhead at weekends only.

In 2004 she was sold again, this time to Manchester music producer, Gary McClarnan  who moved her the following year to Cross Quay Birkenhead for renovation works.

In 2006 Planet was again relocated to a  berth in the historic Albert Docks in Liverpool

The partly restored  lightship was bought in 2008 by her current owner, Liverpool businessman Alan Roberts.

She was further restored at Canning Dock, Liverpool and was open to the  public as a cafe/bar and historic Museum from 2011. The vessel was also available to hire for events.

On 21st September 2016, following a prolonged dispute with the Canals and Rivers Trust, the Planet was repossessed by bailiffs and towed from Liverpool to a mooring in Bristol. See more about this story at:-


In  April 2017 the Planet was sold by the Canals and Rivers Trust to an un-named buyer, who although planning to refurbish it, has no intention of returning it to Liverpool.

See more about this and the views of the Merseyside Civic Society at:-


For more information  about the Planet visit :-



In 2014 Planet was the base for a re-creation of Radio Caroline North (operating with a Restricted Service Licence) to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the original Radio Caroline.

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

Planet Poster for Planet and Radio Caroline North

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